Watch Night Number 19
With the City’s Tricentennial Eve Celebration of 300 years on December 31, 1998 Falls Church unknowingly began a tradition that is now in its 19th year. At that time people wanted more events in our downtown with the streets closed and fun activities and live music. Watch Night was born. Neither snow, nor rain, or cold has stopped Watch Night these many years. Seeing the Historic Star (the City’s first holiday decoration from 1948) lowered each year since 2007 delights Watch Night guests and provides the close to this unique community celebration at midnight. Atlantic Realty annually sponsors the crane and operator for the lowering of the star. Not First Night, which is a NYE event franchise and has tickets for purchase, Watch Night is free and open to all. Fueled by donations from area businesses, civic and nonprofit organizations, and run by non-profits, and volunteer organizations who raisie the money annually to put on this event.
The free shuttle bus runs every 20-25 minutes from the East Falls Church Metro Station starting at 7 pm to all of this year’s venues. Free parking is available at several locations: Kaiser Permanente, The Falls Church Presbyterian on E. Broad Street and The Falls Church Episcopal Church on S. Washington St. and E. Broad Street.
The locations/venues include The Grand Funalley which is located between Park Avenue, N. Maple Avenue, N. Washington Street and the 100 block of West Broad St. The 100 Block of W. Broad Street closes at 5 pm for set up of the event, The Falls Church Historic Church (tours are 7 pm – 8 pm) on South Washington Street; The Falls Church Presbyterian Church (2 stops – 1 handicapped entrance on N. Fairfax St.) and the final stop near The State Theater and Clare & Don’s Beach Shack which returns then to the EFC Metro station and repeats the cycle.
This year The Grand FunAlley and W. Broad St. will have all new rides, inflatables, and new talent to the Main Stage co-sponsored by The Little City CATCH Foundation and The Kensington Senior Living. The Main Stage acts include The Hayley Fahey Band, sponsored by Tori McKinney – Rock Star Realtor, and Star Straggler band from George C. Marshall and Oakton High Schools. Back to close the evening is the very popular Sudden M Pac Band.
What visitors will notice when they approach the 100 block of W. Broad Street is the colored light show glittering brightly from the Fantastic Flyer Swing Ride. New this year are five different inflatables and two mechanical rides offering something new for all ages.
Given the popularity and uniqueness of the music offerings at the indoor music venues, at the Presbyterian Church, and The Falls Church,
Watch Night is bringing back the very popular Cowboy Hay followed by
the equally popular Big Band sound of Northern Lights Orchestra where the swing music and 20 piece orchestra gets people dancing! Cookies and Hot Apple Cider
will be available until the supply runs out. Several activities including Puppet Shows, face painting and caricaturist artists (for youth) are available from
7 pm -8 pm.
The authentic Roots music of The Stewart Sisters (8 pm) followed by Andrew Acosta and Friends (9 pm to 10:30 pm) draws a crowd to the Historic Falls Church. Tours of the Historic Church will be conducted from 7 pm to 8 pm. A warming station with snacks will be available outside of the Church and is visible from S. Washington St.
The LOVE artwork sponsored by Atlantic Realty and The Little City CATCH Foundation will be in place on the corner of S. Washington and West Broad Street
until after the New Year. Volunteers are available for taking photos with the use of cellphones of those who would like their photograph taken of their families and friends at The LOVE artwork all evening until 11:30 pm.
Exciting additions of new vendors and lighted signage will add to the overall Watch Night experience this year. The Welcome Tent will have information on venues and Falls City Threads will be selling their exclusive Falls Church shirts to the public.
Falls Church Arts will have the Chalk Walk activity for visitors to write on the brick walk their wish for the New Year, answering the question if I had but one wish, what would it be? Visitors of all ages are encouraged to participate while they are waiting to have their photograph taken at The LOVE Art work.
The popular Grand FunAlley will have activities for all ages including Karaoke in the and many fun new items, such as the Pirate Ship, Rock Climb Slide and the Extreme Dual Challenge (obstacle course inflatables) that will provide more diverse options for kids and adults of all ages! Special new options for the 2-6 age group include the Carousel Ride this year. Free popcorn and refreshments for sale will be offered
by volunteers at The Unity Club tent.
On Broad Street there will be a XXXL Super Dome Bounce 28’ x 25 ’x 18’ for all ages.
Three warming stations provided by Sisler’s Stone include two large fireplaces for
The Grand FunAlley area and one fire pit near the BB&T Bank on the 100 block of
Special thanks to the sponsors for this year’s Watch Night: The Little City CATCH Foundation; The City of Falls Church; The Village Preservation and Improvement Society; Atlantic Realty and The Kensington Assisted Living .
Venue Sponsors include New Editions Consulting, Burke and Herbert Bank, Drs Love and Miller, The Falls Church Presbyterian Church, The Falls Church Episcopal.
Among the Host Supporters are Foxes Music, A&A Auto Repair, The Oshinsky Family
Partnership, Sisler’s Stone, Tori McKinney Rock Star Realtor, Viget and The Virginia Tourism Council. WATCH NIGHT could not continue without the
financial support of Contributors: Clay Café Studio, CUE Studio, Dr. William Dougherty III, DDS, and other Friends of Watch Night who donate including Gary LaPorta and Councilman Phil Duncan.
The overall success of the event is due to the wide variety of business and civic group donations of resources, and our area churches who loan Watch Night organizers the indoor space. The local civic organizations, churches, and non-profits who not only donate, but recruit many volunteers provide a fun, family experience unique New Year’s Eve experience – Watch Night Falls Church.
Festivities begin at 7 pm. The Grand FunAlley is open at 7 pm and ends with the lowering of the Historic 12’ diameter Star at midnight. The shuttle bus will run until 1:30 pm.
Watch Night was parented by the City of Falls Church Tricentennial Eve which was held December 31, 1998. The event was produced by the Tricentennial Committee that was established in 1995 to celebrate 300 years of Falls Church history. Streets were closed to traffic and traffic was diverted away from the crossroads of Route 7 and Route 29 providing a walkable venue for all of the amusements, music, and venue locations. At that time the main stage was at the crossroads of Washington and Broad Streets. Now the City Police close the 100 block of East Broad to North and South Maple, and the parking lot between Park Avenue and East Broad St serves as the Grand FunAlley. The East Broad block leads to the East and North Fairfax Streets venues as well as those on North Maple Avenue That 1998 event was repeated following the big success of Tricentennial Eve and was later named WATCH NIGHT.
‘THE STAR” on “the tower” behind 422 N. Washington Street will rise above the buildings of the City.
A photograph of “firsts” showing the “first City Hall” and the “first Water Tower” and the “first Holiday Decoration” in the newly organized City of Falls Church. The Water Tower was the first in a series of 10 used by the City and was erected in 1931 following a severe drought in 1930. It cost $8,2l0 to erect then.
The “Star” had been illuminated every Christmas season since 1948, when the Town of Falls Church became a City. Built by Dixie Sheet Metal of Falls Church, and designed by local architect, Victor Spector. Don Frady and his Public Works crews hoisted and secured “the star” annually. Through the years it had reached iconic status and was missed after “the star” and “the tower” were removed to make room for the townhouse office development being constructed very close by. What happened to “the star”? So, one day Robert Goff pulled “the star” out of hiding.
Falls Church style with a meaningful and historic touch….so appropriate for the City and its long history, nearly 60 years since “the star” was first high above the town. It will be raised and lowered again in the for the 7th time at the Annual Watch Night Countdown on the Main Stage
Thanks to Robert Goff, Guy Brady who did the refurbishment, Adam Schulman and Bill Rickardt of Atlantic Realty who have helped to arrange and donate the crane and operator for the event every year.
“The Star has returned to service after a long retirement, and I feels good to have his small historical piece added to the NYE Event. New York has its Waterford Crystal Ball Drop and Falls Church is using an historical decoration for the same purpose, to welcome in 2015.
- barb cram
Free and open to the public and located in the Crossroads area of downtown Falls Church
Fun for all ages and family friendly
Event is issue free, without political or social messages that may divide the community
Venues are organized and funded by local organizations, businesses and citizen contributions and manned by volunteers
Event is pedestrian friendly and organized so that citizens can walk safely and easily between venues
Supports local entertainers, artists and businesses with its venues
Managed on a budget that uses the resources of local businesses, government, organizations and individuals to reduce costs and build community
Organized to minimize overall administration and encourage focus on each venue by the various sponsoring organizations
WATCH NIGHT is an important part of the Falls Church City culture.