Capital City countdown: New Year’s Eve excitement to return to Dover

DOVER — It has been almost a decade since the city of Dover has celebrated a New Year’s Eve with a myriad events, including a spirited countdown and a ball drop downtown.

That is all set to change on Dec. 31 this year as Destination Downtown Dover, Downtown Dover Partnership, NCALL’s Restoring Central Dover and the city of Dover have all come together to offer celebrations for both children and adults.

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen is more than happy to see the excitement of a new year come back downtown this year in the form of family fun at the Dover Public Library for children from 3 until 6 p.m. and then the Capital City Countdown for adults at Loockerman Square Plaza from 6 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.

“I certainly do think it’s time that Dover enjoyed a New Year’s Eve celebration again, because once again, it’s another event that showcases not only downtown Dover, but the entire city,” Mayor Christiansen said. “This shows that Dover’s on the move and we’re on the grow and we reach out and embrace all of our citizens and embrace things that are fun.

“We’re going to have activities for the children, and we’re also going to have an event for adults that will feature a ball drop. It’s going to be a great event for everybody.”

Dover has not had a New Year’s Eve event downtown since 2010. The annual First Night celebration was canceled in 2011 after a 15-year run due to lack of funds.

Amy Mullen, the events compliance coordinator for Destination Downtown Dover, which is hosting the Capital City Countdown, noted that the adult portion of the New Year’s celebration is a paid event and said people should get their tickets as soon as possible.

Tickets to get inside the heated tent where the event will take place off Loockerman Street are currently $33 and are expected to increase to $50 as the limited supply begins to dwindle. They can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com

The entrance price includes admission into the heated facility, entertainment by a DJ, a champagne toast and the ball drop at midnight. Unlimited pour tickets are separate and can be bought at the event for $47 and individual drink purchases will also be available.

Ms. Mullen said the tickets are priced in accordance with the limited number of people who are allowed inside the tent due to size constraints. Local craft beer and spirits will be available and food trucks will be on hand for food purchases.

“Ticket sales are going pretty well,” said Ms. Mullen. “Honestly, it needs to be expressed that people need to buy their tickets ahead of time. We don’t want people to show up and be turned away at the door when (the Capital City Countdown) was their plan for the evening. That wouldn’t be good.”

Ms. Mullen’s Destination Downtown Dover organization is also behind events such as OktDoverFest, as well as History, Heritage and Hops, and some First Fridays in Dover throughout the year.

Ms. Mullen said that in the spring city officials brought together all the groups involved to make sure a downtown celebration took place this year. She said she is excited about it.

“What we always are looking forward to is getting the chance to bring the community together and bringing awareness that downtown is happening, alive, hip and in the present,” she said. “We’re very progressive with our events but we try to keep a little bit of traditionalism with it.

“You could say that we honor our past while celebrating our future. We just want to energize downtown Dover.”

The children’s portion of Dover’s New Year’s Eve celebration will take place that Monday afternoon both inside and in front of the Dover Public Library.

Tina Bradbury, operations manager for the Downtown Dover Partnership, said the DDP, Restoring Central Dover and the city will all have a hand in entertaining the kids from 3 until 6 p.m.

“It’s going to be a grand time,” Ms. Bradbury said. “It will be a chance for children to celebrate the new year with lots of fun activities to take part in.

“Inside of the library there will be a magician (Magic by Charlie) and also a balloon artist (Kidz Delight) who will be doing a story and making balloon animals. There will also be several shows, a mobile cloud game truck on the street, DART First State ‘Touch a Bus’ and a Dover fire truck for kids to explore.”

She also added that Wesley United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall will be open for arts and crafts as well as cookies and hot chocolate.

“We’re really excited here for the collaboration with the city and Restoring Central Dover and everybody coming together,” Ms. Bradbury said. “It’s a great chance for all of us to do something for our community, end the year on a high note and start the new year on a good note as well.”

Ms. Mullen believes Dover is ready to bring back a New Year’s Eve celebration to its residents.

“I know they’re ready,” she said. “We’ve been asked for a couple of years now to put on a New Year’s Eve event downtown.

“This year we had the proper amount of time to do the planning in order to make sure it was done right. There’s one thing the DDD does and that’s put on a great party. We know how to throw a party, and we’re betting Dover

 

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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