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Crews add 192 new Waterford crystals to New Year's Eve ball

Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Crews have added 192 new Waterford crystals for a total of 2,688 crystals to be lit up when the ball drops in New York City's Times Square on New Year's Eve.

Workers installed the new crystal triangles on the almost 12,000-pound geodesic sphere on Sunday, with 32,256 LED lights covering all 2,688 crystal triangles.

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The design this year for the ball high above Times Square on Broadway between 42nd and 43rd streets that drops at the stroke of midnight is called "Gift of Happiness."

"This year's theme is happiness, so I would honestly say, and I think everybody would agree with me, that happiness is probably the most apt design theme that we could ever have because 2020 has been a tumultuous year for everybody," Waterford Crystal Master Artisan Tom Brennan told WABC.

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The normally million-plus packed event will be closed to the general public due to COVID-19, with the only people in attendance being the entertainers and 40 selected guests, called "the heroes of 2020."

"We all need a little more happiness in 2021, and that's what this year's celebrations is all about," Jeffrey Strauss of Countdown Entertainment told WABC. "We are going to have New York families that represent the best of us, our heroes of 2020, they're those folks that kept us safe, that protected us throughout this year, and who helped us survive."

The Times Square Alliance announced the "Heroes of 2020" and their families would be onsite earlier this month, including New York families of first responders, frontline and essential workers. Gloria Gaynor will perform "I Will Survive," and Mean Girls actor Jonathan Bennett will return to host the event.

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Several TV networks will air New Year's Eve specials from Times Square, including ABC's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC. The special begins at 8 p.m. EST.

Jennifer Lopez will headline from Times Square with other performers, such as Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper, Jimmie Allen, and rapper Machine Gun Kelly, among them. Porter and Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale will join Seacrest in hosting special at Times Square. On Christmas Eve, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve announced Ella Mai would perform in the Los Angeles celebration along with previously announced Miley Cyrus, Nelly, Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, and Maluma, and Ciara as host.

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