RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A New Year's Eve tradition returns this year in Richmond, though it remains a scaled back version compared to years past: The Carytown ball will rise again, as it has for the past several years, above the Byrd theatre.
The event began modestly enough...maybe just a few thousand people. Over time, the numbers would soon swell beyond even the grandest expectations.
In 2008, for example, nearly 30,000 people crammed into Carytown. But things would get too expensive -mostly because of security- and now, instead of a full-blown street party, revelers are relegated to the sidewalks.
Not a problem, says Todd Schall-Vess.
"As long as I'm here and nobody prevents me from doing it, I plan on continuing the tradition," said Schall-Vess, General Manager of the Byrd.
Todd's raising the ball once again, right here, from the roof. And down below, a festive night is expected, as usual.
"When I'm up here, and usually it's just about as cold as it can possibly be, It's just like, okay, 'Why am I up here doing this?' And then I look down and see the crowd and it's like, 'Okay, yeah, that might probably make it worth it,'" Schall-Vess said.
Restaurant owners agree, hoping to attract an enthusiastic New Year's crowd.
"This would probably be the epicenter of the New Year's Eve storm of Richmond," said Demetrios Tsiptsis, Co-Owner of New York Deli.
While the attendance may be down, the numbers remain significant...maybe 5,000 to 8,000 people. And with that kind of support, the ball is expected to rise for at least several more years to come.
"It gives Richmonders a solid tradition that they can count on," Schall-Vess said.
Added Tsiptsis, "There needs to be a central gathering place, in the city, for New Year's, and what better place than the Byrd theatre?"
The ball will rise moments before the stroke of midnight, with the crowd expected to swell on the sidewalks around 11:30.