Front Royal to celebrate New Year’s Eve

Front Royal will ring in 2016 with home-grown entertainment and lights at its first ever New Year’s Eve celebration.

Inspired by other festivities in cities nearby, Front Royal Visitor’s Center Coordinator Tim Smith and a committee of business owners and community members decided to bring an event to Front Royal starting this year.

Originally, they had thought to term the event “First Night,” but switched the title to “New Year’s Eve Front Royal” after learning of the First Night trademark. In future years, Smith said the town may look into pursuing an official First Night, since the goal of an alcohol-free, family-friendly way to celebrate is very similar.

“It’s just a sense of community, people getting together to have a good time to ring in the New Year,” he said. “We’ll all get together in January to evaluate how it went, and based on that we can build off of that for next year.”

This year, the celebration will feature the talents of local artists and performers like country singer Ryan Jewel, the Front Royal Oratorio Society and magician Kevin Owens. Events will begin at 6 p.m. at participating businesses on Main Street. There, attendees can stop into places like The Daily Grind or Shenandoah Confections to experience some of that entertainment.

The event hub will shift to the town commons with more performances from 8 p.m. to midnight, when 2016 will go up in lights – literally – at the gazebo. Food vendors will be set up in the area, and the Front Royal visitor’s center will be open until midnight with treats sold by Front Royal Church of the Brethren.

Smith said there haven’t been any previous town New Year’s Eve celebrations that he can recall. He said Main Street business owners on the event’s committee collaborated to set up the event schedule over the past three months and the committee looks forward to exploring more options for future New Years.

“It all kind of came together pretty quick, it’s worked out pretty well,” he said.

Since it’s the inaugural holiday celebration for Front Royal, Smith said he can’t come up with an attendance estimate. He and the other committee members will be gauging community response on the event’s pilot year.

“You never know on the first one,” he said.

-6 p.m. Dec. 31 to midnight Jan. 1 on Main Street and at the Town Commons.
-Admission is free.
-See the full event listing at http://tinyurl.com/nvrvby9 and contact the Visitor’s Center at 540-635-5788.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com