The recreation manager for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is calling last week's New Year's Eve celebration on the Sydney waterfront a "smashing success."

Christa Dicks said the event drew an estimated 22,000 people to downtown Sydney. The entertainment on offer included a 21-metre Ferris wheel, a carousel, a tobogganing hill and terrain park, and fireworks.

"It was a bit magical," said Dicks. "Everything from downtown carriage rides with all-lit-up downtown, to the carnival atmosphere ... it was literally, from one end of the boardwalk to the other, nothing but fantastic."

She said organizing the event was a team effort. 

"Everybody took off a big chunk of this event and did a part of it," she said. "This was an incredible group effort for such a small team. We're pretty proud."

Dicks said they were lucky to have natural snow for the tobogganing hill. She said making the terrain park was a more challenging undertaking.

"Public works trucked the snow in that they had cleared, and then they blew fresh snow on top of it with the snow blowers," she said. "And the guys patted it down courtesy of a friend of ours in solid waste who helped us out in his off-time."

Costs shared

Dicks says the total cost of the event was about $150,000 with sponsors covering about $70,000, leaving the CBRM's share at about $80,000. She said if sponsors stay on board and costs can be kept down, the success of the New Year's celebration sets the stage for CBRM to host other large-scale events in the future.

One lesson learned from the New Year's event was the need to start the set-up process earlier. 

"At six o'clock, people were starting to roll in, we were still rolling things out," she said. "So we would definitely set up a week early, not two days. Other than that, we didn't have very many hiccups."