State News

Fayetteville drops New Year's party

Posted September 13, 2012 8:13 a.m. EDT
Updated September 13, 2012 6:36 p.m. EDT

— While Raleigh drops its acorn and people in Mount Olive celebrate the pickle drop on New Year's Eve, Fayetteville residents will have no local celebration to ring in 2013.

The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival has produced the New Year's Eve Party at Festival Park for the past three years, but officials say they're scrapping it for financial reasons.

"We had a three-year plan, and last year was the third year, and when you can't make any money, you can't keep doing it," said Greg Hathaway, a former Dogwood Festival chairman and the artist who created a 12-foot dogwood blossom that was the centerpiece of the New Year's Eve event.

Organizers said they want to focus on the the city's award-winning springtime Dogwood Festival party.

"We've got enough great ideas to have a party every weekend. We just don't have the money," Hathaway said.

Dogwood Festival executive director Carrie King said the party costs between $20,000 and $25,000, and last year's event almost broke even. She says the three parties have lost a total of $20,000.

Organizers were criticized last year for trying to charge admission to the New Year's Eve party, which attracted 8,000 people.

Hathaway said attendance grew every year but "the profitability kept going down" because of high costs. It also was difficult to attract people to organize and run the bash.

"Because you're staging it on New Year's Eve, everything's inflated anyway," he said. "It's hard to get (volunteers) on New Year's Eve. They want to be part of the party, not a part of the working thing."

Mayor Tony Chavonne said Fayetteville is looking at recruiting another group to operate a local New Year's Eve celebration.

"We are looking at other organizations that might be willing to pick the baton up after three years and continue to offer that to our citizens," Chavonne said.