Thirteen illuminated eagles rose during the New Year's Eve countdown to 2012 as about 800 cheering revelers filled the 100 block of East Broad Street Saturday night during the 14th annual Tamaqua New Year's Eve Eagle Rise.
The event was held outside the ABC Tamaqua High Rise.
Relatively warm temperatures, in the mid 40s, and the lack of precipitation contributed to one of the largest crowds in the history of the Eagle Rise, which was coordinated by the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the TIMES NEWS.
The celebration, which is held free of charge to the community, has been an annual event since 1998 as part of the borough's founding Bicentennial celebration.
Frank Fabrizio, Brockton, who has set up the lighting each year, noted that the first five years, a ball drop or rise was utilized at the high rise, modeled after the well-known Times Square New Year's Eve event.
Later, the ball was replaced with illuminated eagles, the mascot for the Tamaqua Area High School, that flap their wings up the side of the building beginning at 11:59 p.m., and lighting the New Year sign at the top of the building at midnight.
The 200 block of East Broad Street, State Route 209, was closed starting at 10 p.m. while traffic was detoured around the high rise until the Eagle Rise was completed.
Disc jockey Brandon Fritz provided music in front of the high rise, which he has done every year since 2005.
"I've been out here in good times and bad times, weather-wise," said Fritz.
Laser lights danced as a giant television image was reflected onto the high rise so the crowd could watch "Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve with Ryan Seacrest" as it was broadcast live from Times Square in New York.
Balloons were handed out to those in attendance.
"Comfortable weather added to the improved success of the event," said Linda Yulanavage, executive director of the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce.
Yulanavage also expressed her appreciation to Fabrizio, the TIMES NEWS, high rise tenants, volunteers, police and fire police for their support.
"This was truly a great turnout," said Dale Freudenberger, volunteer.
"We're starting to see more and more people coming out, and everyone is having a good time," added Yulanavage.
Fabrizio was also pleased.
"It is nice to see so many Tamaqua community members converged in one place to celebrate the coming of a new year," he added.