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Waynesboro celebrates New Year

January 01, 2001

Waynesboro celebrates New Year



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Ken Koll was able to breathe a sigh of relief when snow threatening to hamper the second New Year's Eve bash in downtown Waynesboro missed the Tri-State area.

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"It definitely was good news for us," said Koll, who has organized the event for the last two years.

With the forecast improved, Koll expected several thousand area residents to descend on the Main Street square to ring in the New Year together Sunday night.

New Year's Eve revelers who came early were able to watch Love, Faith and Hope perform in the storefront west of Long Jewelers, participate in an inflatable jousting contest and watch ventriloquist Patty Barnhart in the square.

Disc jockeys from Star 92.1-FM in Greencastle judged a karaoke contest inside the Waynesboro Theatre while hayrides, a magic show and face painting were planned to continue throughout the night.

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Just before midnight, the winners of the Father Time and Baby New Year costume contest were to be crowned.

Moments later, crowds were expected to huddle in the square and count down the end of 2000, along with the hundreds of thousands gathered in New York City's Times Square projected onto a large television screen.

Like last year, the event was free, with entertainment and costs paid for by donations from local businesses.

"For years I wanted to go to New York, but with the New York crime and chances of getting lost and wondering if I would ever see my car again, I never did it," Koll said.

He began dreaming up the idea for a downtown Waynesboro celebration several years ago, and decided with last year's millennium hype, it was the perfect opportunity to see if there was enough support to sustain it.

"I thought we could do it year to year if it worked. If not, it was a one-time millennium celebration," he said.

With 3,500 people in the square at midnight last year, Koll far exceeded his hopes of 2,000 people. He believed that was a mandate to go for it again this year.

With the threat of snow out of the picture Sunday but freezing temperatures still in the forecast, Koll said he would be happy with a turnout of 1,500.

"That would make it worth the time and the man-hours," he said.

His volunteer base is growing and planning for the event began last spring. Preparations became almost a full-time job for Koll, an auto transfusionist at Washington County Hospital, the last few weeks.

He hopes the New Year's Eve party will become a staple of the holidays for area residents, and he expects the planning will get easier every year.

"I think we have an advantage in being a small town to pull something like this off," Koll said. "Our Main Street is very short and it's easier to get roads closed with the small-town mentality."

He said borough and police approval was much easier this year because of the earlier success.

This year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation planned to close down Main Street at the square from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. to allow for the event, but Koll predicted the crowd would scatter immediately after midnight and the road would reopen quickly.

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