The Big Chill: Revelers ring in New Year on The Circle

GEORGETOWN – The Glass Onion band ushered in New Year 2018 with Kool & the Gang’s 1980 hit “Celebration.”

Kool, cool or even brisk were not operative words for the town of Georgetown’s fourth edition of New Year’s Eve on The Circle “Raise the Ball” celebration.

It was more like bitter cold.

Several hundred revelers braved low-teen temperatures and single-digit wind-chills Sunday night and early Monday morning to bid farewell to 2017 and welcome 2018.

In the closing seconds of 2017, a crane raised the spectacular digital LED ball, which flashed Happy New Year 2018 at the stroke of midnight.

Georgetown resident Jackie Hill was among the die-hard revelers.

“I have a coat on. I’ve got on leggings. I have my gloves and I have my hoodie. I am all ready,” said Ms. Hill, who attended the celebration with her husband, grand-daughter and niece and nephew. “My niece and nephew are from North Carolina. They come every year. They were here last year with me and they danced all night.”

“I’m layered, like the kid in Christmas Story,” said another reveler, Mary Troy of Georgetown.

The previous year, The Circle in the heart of Georgetown was jam-packed with people to usher in 2017.

“It was wonderful last year. We didn’t even have a coat on,” said Ms. Hill.

This year’s deep freeze undoubtedly put a huge hit on attendance for the four-hour event, which featured a free photo booth station and several food and beverage vendors.

As midnight approached, more people arrived for the raising of the ball. However, attendance was nothing compared to last year.

“We were hurt by the weather,” said Georgetown Mayor Bill West, speculating many people simply didn’t want to venture out in the elements for an extended period. “I had a friend coming back from Dover that texted me and said it was 8 degrees!”

Cold weather didn’t keep Seth Bratten, who is frequently seen dancing roadside along Coastal Highway, from dancing up a storm.

“Everybody knows me as the Highway Dancer,” said Mr. Bratten. “It’s always good to have fun.”

Bonfire pits – two provided by 16 Mile Brewery and a third made by the town of Georgetown – were gathering spots for attendees to socialize as they huddled around the fires.

The event was sponsored by 1st State Chevrolet, Megee Motors and Boulevard Ford.

Schagrin Gas provided propane for a heated tent and heat for the band stage.

“We had some real good sponsors helping us,” said Mayor West.

Plans are already in the works for the fifth edition, which will again feature Glass Onion.

“I’ve already signed a contract for them to come back next year,” said Mayor West. “It’s just got to be a little warmer!”

Ms. Hill plans to be there.

“The band is wonderful. I love this band – the Glass Onion. My grand-daughter is 12 and she loves them,” said Ms. Hill. “The bonfires are wonderful. And the people are nice. We have a good time. I think it’s wonderful that the town puts this on for us. I love it. Plus, it’s close to home. I don’t have too far too drive. That is the best part about it.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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