Letters to the Editor: December 29, 2011 – January 4, 2012

Biggest ‘Watch Night’ Actually Was the First


In last week’s Guest Commentary, Barb Cram left out a sentence in which I honored her work in managing Watch Night for these past 6 years. And isn’t that just like Barb to defer the compliments and get on with the work? I hope everyone goes up to Barb on New Year’s Eve and heartily thanks her for the wonderful job she has performed. She will say it was nothing and I can tell you it is something.

I would also like to clarify a comment by one of the contributors to her commentary last week who said “It has been my pleasure to Watch Night grow from one block, one stage and one tent…” Geographically, the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in Falls Church City was actually performed the first year in December, 1998 when it was called “Tricentennial Eve.” It had the largest street closure area of any celebration since. This was the first time since the mid-20th century parades that an expanse of Broad and Washington Streets had been closed to motor vehicles so citizens could have a street festival and be able to walk in a car-free zone from Maple Avenue to the Presbyterian Church and down to the Falls Church and up to the State Theatre. In following years, the size of the festival actually shrunk, due to concerns about fire truck access for emergency calls. And regarding the “one stage,” we actually had about 5 major venues with big acts on that first celebration in 1998. And there were at least 7 minor venues with entertainment. While the festival has evolved in many very positive ways over the part 14 years, it is effectively the same kid and adult-friendly celebration.

I am writing this correction to inspire citizens to understand that a major project that has never been done before in a community can be created and pulled off in a relatively short time period if there is enough forethought, creative energy and bull-headed persistence. I hope more people step forward, like Barb Cram has done, to channel those creative energies to make a more viable community.

Dave Eckert

Corvallis, Oregon

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