Ball to rise above Carytown on New Year's Eve

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's the talk on Twitter. New Year's Eve in Carytown and whether the ball will rise once again. Restaurants along that popular strip are banking on it.

The Byrd Theater manager says yes the tradition will continue. Even though there isn't a formal event planned, the hope is that people will turn out in large numbers and not just to usher in 2011.

In just a matter of days, Todd Schall-Vess will dust off his giant illuminated New Year's Eve ball.

"Right now, it's in pieces in my storage space," said Schall-Vess.

Decked out with new LED lights, the ball will welcome in 2011.

"We just want to continue the tradition. That's what we in Carytown and we in the Byrd Theater is important to us, that continuity," said Schall-Vess.

It's a hot topic on Twitter, as people begin to make plans.

That may very well translate into big sales at all the 37 restaurants on the popular strip which wasn't the case when Carytown hosted the party and shut down the street a few years ago.

Carytown Merchants Association President, Bob Broomfield, says they never realized how much closing six blocks would hurt the restaurants. But last year, Broomfield says restaurants tripled their business when Carytown kept the street open.

Can Can manager Sarah Gray says dinner reservations are stacking up fast.

"People have been calling for about the past month to make sure they can get a spot in because we will fill up quickly," said Gray.

Depending on how cold it will be, Schall-Vess expect people to mosey on down to the Byrd. Gray said many Can Can guests opt for the restaurant's champagne toast at midnight.

"I think last year there were so many people that came out without the streets being blocked off it was almost the same kind of feel," said Gray.

Richmond police say they are aware of the ball set to rise above the Byrd on New Year's Eve.  They're going to monitor the crowds and make sure everyone is safe.

Schall-Vess estimates about 1,200 people celebrated in Carytown last New Year's Eve and expects that number to rise too.

"I think I'd be really excited to see 2,000," said Schall-Vess.

According to, many restaurants are even offering specials to get people in the doors.

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