A section of downtown Tamaqua resembled Times Square Monday evening as over 800 cheering spectators counted down to 2013 during Tamaqua's 14th annual New Year's Eve Eagle Rise held in downtown Tamaqua. The event is held every year courtesy of the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce and area sponsors.
Relatively "warm" temperatures in the low 30s and the lack of precipitation contributed to one of the largest crowds since the first New Year's event was held as part of the borough's Founding Bicentennial celebration in 1999.
In preparation of the event, borough workers closed off the 200 block of East Broad Street (US209) by wooden horses beginning at 10 p.m., and traffic was detoured around the high rise via Tamaqua Fire Police until the Eagle Rise was completed.
In addition to music by DJ Brandon Fritz, spectators were treated to a live feed of New York's Times Square via a large image projected onto the side of the high rise, which is the tallest structure in Schuylkill County. The light display and projection were provided courtesy of Frank Fabrizio of Brockton, who coordinates the setup of the lights every year.
"What a great event," said spectator Eric Becker. "Makes you proud to be a part of this community."
Fabrizio noted that the first five years, a ball drop or rise was utilized at the high rise, modeled after New York's Times Square event.
Later, Fabrizio chose to replace the ball with 13 illuminated eagles that flap their wings as they cascade up the side of the building at 11:59 p.m., lighting the New Year sign at the top at midnight. The eagle is a mascot for Tamaqua Area High School.
"Warmer weather added to this year's turnout," said Eileen Barron, assistant director, Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce. "Fabrizio, Fritz and other chamber volunteers did an outstanding job with this event. We couldn't have asked for a better night."
"This is a good family-oriented event, and the nice thing is, we don't have a lot of problems. It's a real family affair," said Linda Yulanavage, executive director, Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce.
"We had a great turnout," said volunteer Dale Freudenberger. "Everyone had a great time and partied like its 2013."