Happy New Year, direct from Carytown
Did anyone expect such a crowd at Carytown on New Year’s Eve? I went out of curiosity (also because it was free), and I expected something like the busy-but-relaxed Watermelon Festival, only with drinking.
Instead, it felt like what I’d imagine of Times Square — well, minus the cages and the restricted restrooms and the security alert and Ryan Seacrest. But the crowds were certainly present in Carytown. Under a persistent mist (the big rains came later), folks crowded up to the stage where Black Cash and the Bad Trips faithfully covered Johnny Cash tunes — “A Boy Named Sue” was a highlight. The crowds were mainly polite, although there was plenty of moving around and the resultant jostling. Lots of people with water bottles with liquids other than water inside, plus one guy with a flask.
And shhh … I even smelled pot. There were also “celebrity” sightings: Father Time (a guy in a long, platinum wig and a toga) and a Tara Reid look-alike who was stumbling drunk, with about a yard of torso showing between her high-cut sweater and low-cut jeans. Maybe we’d best forget that sighting.
The climax of the evening was the rising, glowing ball rigged with fireworks. See video here:
I read that the organizers wanted to provide a gathering place for Richmonders to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and in that they succeeded. Other celebratory options in town, while lovely, cost $75 or more (from a prix-fixe dinner to a night at a fancy hotel). And I’ve gone that route before on previous New Year’s Eves. It’s nice, especially if you plan ahead. But for me, even as an occasional claustrophobe, it was worth the traffic and the weather to join the first year of what’s likely to be a Richmond tradition.