Sudden surprise: Byrd to raise Carytown New Year's Eve ball

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's well known that the Carytown Merchants decided not to do an official New Year's Eve party because their association lost tens of thousands of dollars doing it, but that hasn't stopped the people at the Byrd Theatre from going ahead with their own plans.

Leigh and Charlie Williams were always part of the Cary Street crowd on New Year's Eve, and when they heard there would be no official event this year, they were disappointed.

"It would be almost like New York canceling the Times Square thing. It's not on that scale, but it's a local tradition. I think it'll come back," said Charlie.

That was this morning. Little did they know Charlie's prediction would appear to come true - just a few hours later, when a full-blown rooftop operation was underway atop the Byrd Theatre.

The Byrd's manager declined to comment, but with police surveillance in place, it seems the ball will rise, after all!

Elsewhere, New Year's events like the dinner at 1 North Belmont were selling out - with or without a Carytown celebration.

"It's nice to have the place filled up. Kinda buzzes," said Jack Zampolin, 1 North Belmont.

And the soon-to-be full ballroom at the Holiday Inn - Koger Center, was expecting a bigger crowd than last year. Organizers wondered if a Carytown re-emergence would have any effect at all.

"I don't think so. I think you're talking about a totally different group of people that come to this," said Amy Reiss, Holiday Inn - Koger Center.

The Carytown New Year's event annually drew tens of thousands of revelers. While there may not be the live music or closed-off streets of years past, there is a ball...and there will be people. The question tonight: Just how many, will come out to celebrate?

"I think it's a plus for Cary Street, it's the perfect place to have it," said Leigh.

It does not appear to be a city-sanctioned event, but there's really nothing officials can do to keep people off the sidewalks, or the theatre from raising a ball at midnight. It'll be interesting to see how many people show up. Nobody really knows, for sure.

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