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New Year's revelry spans jeans to evening gowns

January 01, 2000

Ramada Inn partygoersBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




Area bars and hotels were hopping as crowds of people partied away 1999 and ushered in 2000.

About 1,300 people danced all night at the Ramada Inn's grand ballroom, Tortuga Restaurant and Barracuda's Surf Bar on the Dual Highway.

The hotel complex was decorated with gold and black balloons, streamers, glitter and confetti.

About 600 people, some in tuxedos and evening gowns, partied in the hotel ballroom where the atmosphere was formal and an eye-catcher was a 4-foot Y2K ice sculpture.

There the partygoers dined on delicacies such as salmon Wellington and penne and chicken portofino.

Partygoers wore tiaras and black top hats and played with noisemakers.

An enormous arch of balloons spanned the stage where a nine-piece band, "Party Time," belted out rock and roll.

The Ramada's ballroom celebration has been an annual event for Shirley and Wayne Stenger of Greencastle, Pa., and their friends for more than 10 years.

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Each New Year's Eve, the couple rents a room and hangs out with friends around the pool. They start partying around 1 p.m., said Shirley Stenger, 65.

"We love to come here. The music's good and it's a fun time," she said.

Friday's New Year's celebration at the Ramada was a first for Christine Schmuck, 39, and James Smith, 39, both of York, Pa.

The couple said they were taking no chances when it came to any possible Y2K glitches. They said before leaving for the holiday party they stocked up on batteries, bottled water, canned meat and tuna.

Schmuck and Smith wished for good health in the new year.

The atmosphere in the Ramada's Barracuda Surf Bar was more casual, with men and women, most in their 20s and 30s, listening to a disc jockey spin tunes from the BackStreet Boys and Goo Goo Dolls. As the music played, the singers' images appeared on several television screens throughout the two-level bar.

Revelers at Barracuda's arrived in mixed attire ranging from blue jeans to slinky short dresses.

A similar crowd could be found at the Martini Bar on South Potomac Street, where the rock band Back Roads Blues played contemporary songs with ample percussion.

At The Venice Inn, about 360 people danced to the rock band Rubberband.

They partook of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and a buffet dinner and capped off the celebration with a champagne toast at midnight followed by a continental breakfast.

Patrons at Avellino's at the Venice heard tunes spun by a disc jockey, sampled hors d'oeuvres and made a champagne toast.

At the Corner Pub on Baltimore Street, more than 100 people sampled a complimentary buffet that included meatballs, ham salad and chicken salad. Some patrons watched a televised New Year's celebration on a big-screen television.

"We have been preparing all week. We wanted to do it right," said Corner Pub owner Daryl Sword.

The bar was decorated with party favors, streamers and glitter. Multi-colored balloons hung over the lower bar area awaiting the midnight hour when they would float gently down on the celebrating patrons.

Melinda Homar came from Waynesboro, Pa., to ring in the New Year at the Corner Pub.

"I like the atmosphere here - it's friendly and comfortable," she said.

Homar said she feels the new year is going to be a good one.

"It will be a lot of new beginnings for me and I want to make the best of them," she said.

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