Clear, Brisk Forecast for F.C. New Year

The forecast is for temperatures to remain above freezing following a day of almost 50 degrees on New Year’s Eve Monday, perfect if brisk conditions for the eighth annual “Watch Night” celebration expected to draw over 1,000 to downtown Falls Church. A giant antique steel-frame star that once adorned the Falls Church water tower every holiday season will be lowered by a crane at midnight, ushering in 2008 at the conclusion of the five-hour event.

The 100 block of W. Broad St. (Rt. 7) from the intersection at Washington St. (Rt. 29) to Maple St. will be the center of the festivities. That block will be closed to traffic at 6 p.m., and the party starts at 7 p.m.

Entertainment and activities for all ages will be provided, all free of charge. City officials see the event as an economic driver for the City of Falls Church, bringing hundreds of fresh faces into town where they can discover the diverse offerings here.

Live music at the Broad Street Grill and the Ireland’s Four Provinces restaurants will be augmented by special performances by top drawer musicians at the main stage in the middle of the block, and at the New Year’s Novelties tent.

Renowned blues entertainer Memphis Gold headlines the musical component of the evening, and Danny Blew and the Blues Crew will also perform, along with popular local rock groups Rites of Ash, Basmati, and the Sons of Disobedience.

The Northern Lights Big Band Orchestra, 17 strong and featuring vocalist Margie Johnson, the Thomas Jefferson High School Madrigals and Falls Church native vocal talent Sam Waters will also perform.

A half-block away at the State Theatre, one of Falls Church’s best known sites, another appearance by the wildly popular Legwarmers has been sold out for weeks.

But at Watch Night, Ted the balloon-sculpturing clown, caricaturist Marie Cheek, hand dancers Riki and Billie, Cowboy Hay, Captain Token the magician, square dancer Susan Taylor and her Up in the Air band, face painters Bill Abel and Kathy Buschow, Flashpoint Productions light show, and DJ Big Daddy Breedlove at the Unity Club will all be offering their talents.

A Karaoke contest, Creative Cauldron activities for kids, a scavenger hunt, digital dancing, carousel, moon bounce, castle slide, Velcro wall, puppet show, fire truck and firemen, free popcorn and more will also be there.

Restaurants in the block and nearby will be open. Ireland’s Four Provinces is traditionally one of the most popular, offering a special menu for the evening, live Irish entertainment for sit-down diners, an abundant bar and party favors right up to midnight.

The Broad Street Grill will also be packed with live rock music. The Pilin Thai and Hunan Chinese restaurants are also located directly in the 100 block. Nearby are the Italian Café, Anthony’s Greek-Italian, Koi Koi Japanese, Huong’s Asian fusion, and the La Cote d’Or French restaurant. In the 900 block of W. Broad, the Bangkok Blues café will offer live music, as well. El Zunzal, with El Salvadorean, and Panshjir, with Afghani food, are also there, and a block further up are the Haandi Indian and Sweet Rice Thai restaurants.

The key catalyst for this year’s Watch Night is Barbara Cram, an active volunteer of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, whose community event organizing talents are matching those of Dave Eckert, the founder of Watch Night who moved away from Falls Church two years ago.

Co-sponsors are the City of Falls Church, the Falls Church Economic Development Authority, the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation and Acacia Federal Savings. Diener and Associates, CPAs, are sponsoring the entertainer Memphis Gold, and the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Grand Fun Alley that runs from the middle of the 100 block north toward Park Avenue.

More information on the event is available at (703) 282-6563.