Watch Night, a New Year’s Eve celebration that involves closing the street in the 100 block of West Broad in Falls Church, has been a tradition in the Little City for many years now, leaving citizens disappointed last year when it was cancelled for the first time ever due to the pandemic. But according to its new team of organizers, it’s back! Citizens will be getting more information as the date nears, but the big news is that they can plan on spending that big night right in the center of the Little City as thousands have for the last 25 years.
The event grew out of the realization that New Years is often a celebration designed for adults, leaving children and parents unsure of what to do. Given the number of families in the city, a group got together with the idea of creating a family-friendly way to celebrate the new year in a safe environment.
Watch Night was created by the City of Falls Church Tricentennial Committee, produced by a CityTricentennial Committee established in 1995 to celebrate 300 years of Falls Church history. The late Barbara Cram was a key organizer from the start.
Local nonprofits and businesses stepped in to help make the event a success such as the Village Society, the Tinner Hill Foundation and the Victorian Society at Falls Church who helped by donating venues, money and their time.
After its success in the first year, the event quickly became an annual tradition that has happened rain or shine for two dozen years.
Due to concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic, the celebration was cancelled in 2020. Regardless of weather conditions, huge crowds turned out every year since the event began— making 2020 the first year without.
As the City has grown, so has the event with various business, religious, non-profit, volunteer, and arts, theater, culture and history groups supporting the annual tradition.
Through the support of these organizations, the event continues to remain free for the public with opportunities to support local businesses by buying food or other items and donating to nonprofits.
The Little City CATCH Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to arts, theater, culture and history in the city, is the main sponsor of the event this year and has been for many years in the past since it was started almost a decade ago.
While legendary Falls Church civic organizer Dave Eckert started the event and ran it until 2006 (when he moved), it was then taken over by Barbara Cram until her passing in 2019. Now, Keith Thurston is in charge of organizing the iconic event.
The final details of the event this year are still being worked out but the event is on and will be happening on Broad Street starting at 7 p.m. on New Years Eve.
Some venues, vendors and businesses have already committed to the event while others are still in discussion. Many local small businesses were greatly impacted by the pandemic and are unsure if they will be able to support the event this year or not.
A finalized list of vendors, businesses and live musicians is expected to be released after Christmas and updates will be posted soon on the Watch Night website at watchnightfallschurch.com/.
Mark your calendars for December 31 because the event will be back and promises to be better than ever!