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F.C. Plans Its New Year’s Eve Fete

Watch Night Fun for Everyone

The City of Falls Church’s 12th Annual Watch Night New Year’s Eve celebration, the first since adopting its “The Little City” brand, is evidence in itself that the show must — and will — go on despite recent city-wide budget shortfalls. That’s thanks to donation-based sponsorship and resident volunteerism time valued at $25,000 according to Greater F.C. Chamber Executive Director Sally Cole. The City’s ubiquitous volunteer, Barbara Cram, is the event’s key point person.FPwatchnight

 

Watch Night Fun for Everyone

The City of Falls Church’s 12th Annual Watch Night New Year’s Eve celebration, the first since adopting its “The Little City” brand, is evidence in itself that the show must — and will — go on despite recent city-wide budget shortfalls. That’s thanks to donation-based sponsorship and resident volunteerism time valued at $25,000 according to Greater F.C. Chamber Executive Director Sally Cole. The City’s ubiquitous volunteer, Barbara Cram, is the event’s key point person.

FPwatchnight

INSTRUMENTAL WATCH NIGHT planners, (left to right) Sally Cole, Barbara Cram and Marybeth Connelly. (Photo: News-Press)

“We’ve done everything we can this year to cut costs in order to be more efficient,” said Cole, citing a large reduction in promotional printing and paper waste.

Falls Church City Public Schools BIE coordinator, Marybeth Connelly, told the News-Press she hopes to also contain costs by creating a Google map this year accessible to anyone online detailing locations of the night’s attractions.

From face-painting to a giant Velcro wall and complimentary champagne toasts at participating restaurants, the always-free, family-oriented event has activities and entertainment for all ages, starting at 7 p.m. on Dec. 31. The 100 block of Broad Street at Washington will close to count down the hours till the dawn of 2010.

Restaurants including Ireland’s Four Provinces, Dogwood Tavern, Pho 88, Pilin Thai, Maneki Neko, Applebee’s, Argia’s, Clare and Don’s Beach Shack and Hunan Café will remain open for business, and many until midnight will offer a Watch Night walking menu of easy-to-carry items.

Cole added that years before, Watch Night was worth “twice the value of what was raised.” This year, however, she said the event is “worth three times what we’ve raised.”

That could be due in part to the 18 private and public sponsors, including the City of Falls Church, the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, the F.C. Chamber of Commerce, the F.C. Economic Development Authority, Atlantic Realty, SmithGifford and the Village Preservation and Improvement Society of F.C., or the scaling back on higher-priced musical acts. Remaining focused on local talent, up-and-coming George Mason High School students Sarah Rodock and Sam Waters have been recruited to sing solos and duets.

Both well-known in the George Mason performance arts scene, Waters won Watch Night’s Anthem Idol ringing in 2007 and snagged the opportunity to belt out the National Anthem at Washington Nationals Park that September. Rodock, on the other hand, just recorded her self-titled Christmas album, copies of which will be handed out at this year’s local-talent-laced event.

Joining her and Waters is Mustang alum and High Minded frontwoman Katy Potrykus, who will be accompanied by Charles Mann and Jake Savage performing on the main stage set to be in front of CVS Pharmacy on West Broad Street.

Cram called the talent pouring out of the City high school “illustrious” in her on-air, “News-Press Live” interview Monday night.

“We have a lot of variety this year,” she said of the Eve’s musical spread, adding that Tinner Hill’s Nikki Henderson also booked The Pluckerland Band, which performed last year with legendary Charlie Sayers. Additional entertainers include three restaurant DJs, The Big Band “Northern Lights” 18-piece orchestra at F.C. Presbyterian Church, Cowboy Hay’s Music and Humor, Hand Dance Professionals Riki and Billie, as well as, magicians at F.C. Anglican, swing dancing, a 66-foot dragon obstacle course and more to be announced.

The State Theatre has long been sold out of its widely-popular New Year’s Eve party hosted by 80s cover-band sensation, The Legwarmers.

Some see the hustle and bustle as an indicative sign that whether or not an economic turnaround is on the horizon, hope still floats in the City.

Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation President Ed Henderson said, “Though we’re in hard times, [Watch Night] is a tradition the City still supports and wants to see it continue. A lot of jurisdictions have cancelled their Watch Nights, but we have not and the fact it’s still happening is a victory in itself during a time of politically hard choices.”

Hoping to keep residents’ minds off economic woes and on the City’s new branding potential, Cram recently pitched “Big Night, Little City” as Watch Night 2010’s slogan to SmithGifford President Matt Smith, who loved the idea. Attendees will be able to find balloons, stickers and more celebrating the new name’s induction at the “Little City” booth outside the BB&T bank on West Broad Street.

“Lots of people who don’t live in Falls Church come to Watch Night because it is one of the few free New Year’s Eve events for the whole family, and many of those people haven’t heard of ‘The Little City’ yet,” said Connelly.

Come the “Big Night,” perhaps they will.

Festivities kick off at 7 p.m., while the block of West Broad between Washington and Maple Streets will be closed at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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