Were you ever in on a First Of It's Kind celebration?
I was last night.
Living where I do, I get to be a part of a lot of celebrations, festivals, and parties. Whether or not I want to be. Mostly it is fun, and I do enjoy these parties. I have seen the work that goes on in the background to throw one of these "Street Festivals" together and came to the realization that I am best as a support person, behind the scenes. That is appropriate with my role as a Project Manager of course, getting the plans and enforcing the rules so things go off smoothly.
Last night, the bars at the Shoppes of Wilton Manors had a bit of a party. You see it was a celebration of turning a new page in the calendar of life, a symbolic good riddance day that the entire globe got behind.
New Years Eve held in our local interpretation of a good old Times Square Party.
I think for the most part they pulled it off. It went well.
What they did was to rope off about 1/2 of the parking lot and decorate it with signs that looked like the New York City subway system as well as the usual Times Square decorations of playbills. There were vendors with some sausage and pepper sandwiches that made me wish that Wilton Manors had street food like I used to enjoy in Philadelphia every chance I get. I'm just not going to eat a meal at 11:30 in the evening no matter how magically those calories will disappear once the calendar goes another digit higher.
You do know of course that the calories eaten in the last magical half hour of a year are invisible right?
Shh, don't argue, just eat your Sausage and Pepper sandwich and wash it down with the Champagne, ok?
There was a stage with a giant projection of scenes of New York that changed with the moods and the DJ's choice in music. The entertainment was given by Cashetta who I enjoy every time I see, whether on a giant inflatable stage or in the bars. Cashetta is our local Drag Magician who we saw on cable who put on a great show. Here's hoping Cashetta gets another shot at national fame!
The party was bounded by the parking lot, although the neighborhood was joining in with their own parties and fireworks, and by 11pm I had to see how the party shaped up.
Gathering myself together in Jeans and T Shirt, we went to the middle of the crowd that was significant and growing and enjoyed the sport of people watching. Everyone was well behaved including the drunks which are a requirement at these things.
As time went on, the parking lot between the bars got quite full. For those who showed, it was just the right mix of people to open space, bars and music, champagne and sausage sandwiches. The parking lot continued to fill in until the moment that we were all waiting for.
At just before midnight, the screen cut to a view of Times Square and a camera pointed at the ball falling from it's perch and everyone got excited until the moment arrived.
To cheers we saw the ball finally announce that it was 2011. This was followed by a drag queen singing New York, New York dressed like Liza Minelli. At least I think it was a drag queen since Liza lives just over the line in Fort Lauderdale.
I was asked while standing there what I thought of it and whether I thought the party would be expanded or improved next year. I had a simple answer. In reference to the improvements, "Did it have to?"
The party was just the right size, just the right amount of people, just the right amount of space. There were enough goings on to make you feel like you were in a magical night with the search lights ablaze. There were just enough people taking pictures so that you could be in hundreds of memories. It wasn't too crowded, it wasn't too loud, it wasn't too "big".
Too often they scale up these celebrations. While I hope it will happen again next year, I'd say don't try too hard. You got it right "in one".
I'm looking forward to be standing there watching that jumbotron with Cashetta performing again next year.
After all, this is why you go to a festival, to have a good time.