Food, Dancing & ‘Kid’s Alley’ Top List of Fun Stuff
Temperatures are forecast to stay above 42 degrees under cloudy skies with no rain in the forecast for New Year’s Eve in downtown Falls Church Sunday night, perfect conditions for the annual “Watch Night” celebration that will take over the 100 block of West Broad and environs. Earlier that day, temperatures are slated to be in the low 60s.
As the News-Press approached deadline yesterday, events were still being added to the dazzling array of special features appealing for all ages in this family-oriented event. Restaurants in the immediate area were reporting that reservations were approaching full, and many, in a new twist this year, were planning to place canopied booths out on the street to feature selected fare.
A new feature added Tuesday was the donation of a balloon by Curt Westergard of Falls Church’s Digital Design. The company uses balloons for aerial photography, and in this case, has donated the use of one of its 12-foot models that will fly up to 600 feet into the air and serve to identify the location of “Watch Night” to observers from as far away as Tysons Corner.
The balloon will rise from the parking lot behind Brown’s Hardware at the end of the week to highlight the events that will take place below starting at 8 p.m. Sunday night.
Another new feature this year is a “kid’s alley,” officially dubbed a “Funalley,” that will be cordoned off in the open public space between the Hunan Café and Pilin Restaurants. A new addition to this will be a 66-foot long, 12-foot high dragon obstacle course to go along with two moon bounces, one of the carousel and one of the slide variety. There will also be a Velcro wall that people who put on a special suit can leap onto and attach themselves in bizarre positions. The “Funalley” will be illuminated by a giant boom light donated by the City of Falls Church.
The featured band of the evening is Danny Bleu and the Blues Crew, an R & B band sponsored by the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation at its tent venue at the corner of Rt. 7 and Rt. 29. A demonstration of “hand dancing” will also occur there, led by a group under the direction of WHUT’s Beverly Lindsey Johnson.
Also, the popular “Rites of Ash” band from Falls Church will perform at the Broad Street Tavern and on the main stage local attorney Rob Duffett will join with DJ Tom Yancey to direct a flash point light and music show along with dance exhibitions and other entertainment throughout the evening. At a Unity Club dance directly above the Pilin Restaurant, DJ “Big Daddy” Breedlove will spin his jams.
There will be square dancing at the Falls Church Presbyterian Church, led by famous dance caller Susan Taylor and her band, “Up in the Air,” and swing dancing at the Falls Church Episcopal, both within a couple blocks of the Rt. 7 at Rt. 29 intersection. There will also be reenactors dressed in Victorian era garb at the Falls Church Episcopal, and folks can don some attire on the spot to have their pictures taken. A scavenger hunt at the F.C. Foot and Ankle will be hosted by Dr. Paul Cannon and Dr. Gordon Thiesz. There will be a magician, a children’s artist, a series of games donated by Anime Pavilion that will include a digital dance. And don’t forget the karaoke stage.
Among the restaurants in the immediate area that will set up canopied on-street booths are Pilin, Broad Street Tavern, Ireland’s Four Provinces, Maneke Neko, Two Sisters Coffee, the Hunan Café, Robeks and the Lazy Sundae. The Four Provinces will be serving free doses of its famous potato leek soup. Free popcorn will be available for everyone.
At the new Falls Church Art and Frame venue, 111 Park Avenue at the far end of “Funalley,” the Creative Cauldron youth theatre program, children’s artist Eileen Levy, face painting, free caricatures and other special happenings will occur.
Local F.C. resident Barbara Cram has taken the point in organizing this year’s event, continuing an annual tradition that began Dec. 31, 1998 to kick off a year-long celebration of Falls Church’s Tricentennial. This year, the event will be Falls Church’s kick-off for a year-long statewide celebration of Virginia’s 400th anniversary.
The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, the City of Falls Church, the Greater Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, Acacia Federal Savings Bank and the Falls Church Economic Development Authority are all sponsors and have all had major roles in helping Cram pull together what promises to be the most festive “Watch Night” yet.