According to the forecast of the Weather Channel’s web site, the skies over Falls Church will be clear but temperatures are expected to plunge below freezing down to 27 degrees by midnight on New Year’s Eve.
That news has prompted organizers of the 11th annual Watch Night celebration in downtown Falls Church to emphasize the large number of activities that will take place indoors, in restaurants, retail stores and churches, as part of the evening’s festivities leading up to the countdown to the New Year.
Barbara Cram, the lead volunteer organizer of this year’s celebration, stressed that in addition to outdoor activities, including the center stage in the 100 block of West Broad that will be closed to traffic, tons of music, dancing and amusements will be found in warm indoor places both on and immediately around the block.
One such space is the tent adjacent the Route 7 and 29 intersection, heated inside, set up by the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation for live music and dancing. Rooms at the Weight Watchers space in the George Mason Square building will feature face painting, a Victorian photo studio, displays of local art, and caricature artistry. There will be live entertainment in two of the restaurants on the block, Ireland’s Four Provinces and the Dogwood Tavern.
Specials for the occasion such as chili and hot dogs at the Dogwood Tavern, hot soups and egg rolls at the Hunan Café, Thai soups and finger foods at the Pilin Restaurant, sweets and hot chocolate at Natalia’s, Japanese specialties at the Maneki Kai, hot noodle soups at Pho 88, chicken fingers and fish with french fries served in large cups at Clare and Don’s, nightly specials and elegant light pizzas at Argia’s and a special New Year’s eve menu at Ireland’s Four Provinces are among the choices for revelers to stay warm and enjoy Falls Church’s own best food options.
Ireland’s Four Provinces is taking reservations for its special four-course New Year’s Eve menu, which includes festive hats and noisy party favors as the clock approaches midnight. The special fixed menu for the four-course meal includes two choices of appetizers, a choice of lobster bisque or Caesar salad, and a choice of surf-and-turf, halibut, scallops or lamb steak, all with fixings, followed by two dessert choices.
Prospective diners are reminded that despite its fine, sought after cuisine, Argia’s does not take reservations.
The 100 block of West Broad will be closed traffic at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, and traffic on Broad will be diverted onto either Maple or Washington Streets. The evenings events begin at 7 p.m.
The advantage of partaking of the excellent choice of restaurants in the immediate area of the Watch Night celebration, of course, is the fact that it offers the option of forays into the brisk outdoor air to enjoy the wide range of amusements and entertainment.
Highlighted among the outdoor happenings are the Grand Fun Alley Amusement arcade in the parking area connecting West Broad with Park Avenue in the middle of the 100 W. Broad block, and the main stage, where four bands will take turns from 8 p.m. until the countdown to midnight, which begins at 11:45 p.m.
In the Grand Fun Alley, free popcorn will be available, while a Velcro wall, moonbounce, castle slide, anime pavilion, and karaoke stage will all be in full force, along with novelties for sale.
On the bandstand, Markus and Makindria kick off the acts at 8 p.m., followed by Charlie Sayles and the Pluckerland Band at 9 p.m., Tango Roo at 10 p.m., and the evening’s featured performance by the Nu Era group at 11 p.m. Nu Era brought down the house at Watch Night two years ago as a singing and strutting group of teenaged brothers from the Anacostia region of Washington, D.C.
City dignitaries are expected to take the stage as the clock nears midnight to lead the crowd in the countdown and the welcoming of the New Year.
Other indoor activities leading to midnight include a scavenger hunt at 104-A E. Broad, the Northern Lights Big Band and Thomas Jefferson High School Madrigals at the Falls Church Anglican. The Jefferson High Madrigals will also perform at the nearby Falls Church Presbyterian, along with the Up in the Air Band and the showing of original Creative Cauldron movies. Hot chocolate will be served at the Sunrise Retirement Home, and two shows by Captain Token and his Magic Team at the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment at 222 N. Washington.
The sponsors of Watch Night this year are the City of Falls Church, the Falls Church Economic Development Authority, the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, Acacia Federal Savings Bank and the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce.