- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Partygoers in tuxedos and black dresses are expected to pack the clubs, cafes and restaurants of Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria and other hotspots in the metropolitan area tonight to cheer the arrival of the new year.

Encouraged by forecasts for mild weather, celebrants by yesterday had made reservations at some of the area’s most luxurious hotels — including the Fairmont at 2401 M St. NW. The Georgetown hotel will host the D.C. Society of Young Professionals’ black tie-optional event.

Euronet International is sponsoring a New Year’s Eve “Grand Ball” at the Wyndham Hotel at 1400 M St. NW in Georgetown, featuring a midnight balloon drop, magicians and open bar.

Among the biggest parties will be the National Millennium New Year’s Eve party at the Grand Hyatt at 1000 H St. NW, sponsored by Budweiser and WIHT-FM (99.5). Some tickets and reservations were still available yesterday, but organizers recommended calling in advance.

Other organizers have had mixed success with turning New Year’s Eve into a family event.

Annapolis, Alexandria and Leesburg, Va., are among about 200 cities nationwide hosting First Night events — alcohol-free, family gatherings that rely on entertainment from local artists.

First Night Annapolis will include Tibetan monks creating mandala sand paintings, an art form that dates back thousands of years. The exhibition is one of dozens of acts booked for Annapolis’ 14th annual New Year’s Eve festival. Last year, more than 20,000 people attended.

The events begin at 4 p.m. with the children-oriented First Act program at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St. Storytelling, music, a petting zoo and other children’s entertainment also will be featured. The First Act program culminates in a mock midnight countdown at 7 p.m.

Organizers were trying to attract more families by distributing free admission badges to public school students in kindergarten through fifth grade. With the help of sponsor M&T; Bank, the organizers gave out 30,000 admission badges valued at $10 each.

Other acts include the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, guitarist Eddie Brooks, the comedy-music act Danzig and Woolley, and American Indian dancer-choreographer Keith Colston. The evening concludes with fireworks over the City Dock at midnight.

First Night Alexandria is also bigger this year, adding a teen celebration at the Campagna Center at 418 S. Washington St. It is organized, staffed and produced by teenagers, Executive Director Ann Dorman said.

Headliners include the comedy-music troupe DaVinci’s Notebook and rockabilly singer Bill Kirchen. The city’s events begin at 6 p.m. with a children’s show at Jefferson Houston School, 1501 Cameron St., and concludes with midnight fireworks on the lawn of the Masonic Temple.

More than 100 acts will perform at 20 venues around Leesburg for its First Night celebration.

Efforts to stage similar events in the District and Montgomery County have not been as successful.

“People have been interested in getting a First Night in D.C. for several years, but it hasn’t come together yet,” said Naima Kradjian, president of New York-based First Night International.

Montgomery County’s First Night celebration will not be held for the second year in a row because of cutbacks in arts funding. The event had been held in Silver Spring and attracted as many as 10,000 people.

One of the biggest religious events in the District will be the New Samaritan Baptist Church’s Joy in the City celebration at the D.C. Armory, 2400 E. Capitol St. SE.

The event will feature performances by gospel musician Natalie Wilson and remarks from Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Democratic presidential candidate the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Police will be out tonight, too.

“We’re going to have several more drunk-driving checkpoints throughout the city,” said Officer Junis Fletcher of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Lucille Baur, spokeswoman for Montgomery County police, said, “Our officers will be positioned throughout Montgomery County, but we’ll focus on areas where there are a lot of restaurants and bars and on county roadways where there have been a number of previous traffic collisions. We will also be patrolling for underage drinking parties.”

Fairfax police officials said they will increase patrols but had no plans to set up sobriety checkpoints.

“We’re concentrating more on patrol, because we feel that instead of taking officers off the streets for check points, they’d be more effective on patrol,” said Officer Jacqi Smith, a spokeswoman for the department.

A Maryland State Police spokesman said the agency will have more troopers on the roads but also had no plans for checkpoints.

The Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority will keep its buses and subways running until 2 a.m.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program is again offering free taxi rides worth up to $50 to those who have had too much to drink. Organizers started the program in 1993 and relied on community and corporate sponsors to cover the cost of giving 23,169 rides home. The organization gave 808 rides last New Year’s Eve.

“It’s important we do this because drunk driving is a killer, and it’s on the rise,” said Kurt Erikson, president of the organization.

To receive a SoberRide dial 800/200-8294 (TAXI) or #8294 on an AT&T; cell phone.

• Karen Goldberg Goff contributed to this article.the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St. Storytelling, music, a petting zoo and other children’s entertainment also will be featured. The First Act program culminates in a mock midnight countdown at 7 p.m.

Organizers are trying to attract more families by distributing free admission badges to public school students in kindergarten through fifth grade, With the help of sponsor M&T; Bank, the organizers gave out 30,000 admission badges valued at $10 each.

Other acts include the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, guitarist Eddie Brooks, the comedy-music act Danzig and Woolley, and American Indian dancer-choreographer Keith Colston. The evening concludes with fireworks over the City Dock at midnight.

First Night Alexandria is also bigger this year, adding a teen celebration organized, staffed and produced by teenagers, says Executive Director Ann Dorman.

The teen celebration will take place at the Campagna Center at 418 S. Washington St.

Headliners include the comedy-music troupe DaVinci’s Notebook and rockabilly singer Bill Kirchen. The events begin at 6 p.m. with children’s show at Jefferson Houston School, 1501 Cameron St and concludes with midnight fireworks on the lawn of the Masonic Temple.

Historic Leesburg, Va., also will host a First Night celebration. More than 100 acts will perform at 20 venues around the city.

Still, efforts to have such events in the District and Montgomery County have not been as successful.

“People have been interested in getting a First Night in D.C. for several years, but it hasn’t come together yet,” said Naima Kradjian, president of New York-based First Night International.

Montgomery County’s First Night celebration will not be held for the second year in a row because of cutbacks in arts funding. The event had been held in Silver Spring and attracted as many as 10,000 persons.

One of the biggest religious events in the District will be the New Samaritan Baptist Church’s Joy in the City celebration at the D.C. Armory, 2400 E. Capitol Street SE.

The event will feature performances by gospel musician Natalie Wilson and remarks from Mayor Anthony A. Williams and presidential candidate the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Police will be out tonight, too.

“We’re going to have several more drunk driving checkpoints throughout the city,” said Officer Junis Fletcher of the Metropolitan Police Department.

Lucille Baur, spokeswoman for the Montgomery Police Department, said, “Our officers will be positioned throughout Montgomery County, but we’ll focus on areas where there are a lot of restaurants and bars and on county roadways where there have been a number of previous traffic collisions. We will also be patrolling for underage drinking parties.”

Fairfax Police Department officials said they also will increase patrols but have no plans to stage sobriety check points.

“We’re concentrating more on patrol, because we feel that instead of taking officers off the streets for check points, they’d be more effective on patrol,” said Officer Jacquelynn Smith, spokeswoman for the department.

A Maryland State Police spokesman said the agency will have more troopers on the roads but also has no plans for checkpoints.

The Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority will keep its buses and subways running until 2 a.m.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program is again offering free taxi rides worth up to $50 to those who have had too much to drink. Organizers started the program in 1993 and relied on community and corporate sponsors to cover the cost of giving 23,169 rides. The organization gave 808 rides last new year’s eve.

“It’s important we do this because drunk driving is a killer and it’s on the rise,” said Kurt Erikson, president of the organization.

To receive a SoberRide dial 800/ 200-8294 (TAXI) or #8294 on an AT&T; cell phone.

Reporter Karen Goldberg Goff contributed to this article.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide