As the closing moments of 2013 ticked down, a series of eagles illuminated up the side of the Tamaqua ABC High Rise, culminating in the bright flash of the New Year's numerals.
As the eagles rose, so did the breaths of the approximately 400 faithful who braved the single-digit windchill degrees to usher in 2014.
"We've had snow, rain, fog, below zero and even one (New Year's celebration) when it was 50 degrees," said Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Yulanavage. "Whenever you plan an outdoor event, the one big variable is the weather, and tonight, it's the wind."
Yulanavage said that the eagle was chosen because the nation's symbol is also the mascot for the Tamaqua Blue Raiders school teams. Frank Fabrizio, Brockton, created the series of 13 eagles, which light one-by-one beginning with the lowest eagle. After the last eagle lights, the lights for the new year illuminate atop the high rise, which is the highest building in the county.
Fabrizio also coordiated the live-feed of the New Year's celebration in New York City's Times Square, which played on the side of the high rise. DJ Brandon Fritz, Tamaqua, provided the music and sound.
New Year's at the Tamaqua ABC High Rise is a 15-year tradition. Before the public events outside, residents of the building hold a party for family and friends inside, complete with food and music.
This year, Joe and Janis Ruggeri, Tamaqua, handled the DJ duties and several generations hit the dance floor to dance to standards such as the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey.
"My mom lives here and we've been coming down here for the past three years," said Kelly McGlinchey, Tamaqua, who attended with her husband, Brian, and their children Zachary, 10, and Madison, 11. "My kids love the oldies because that's what we listen to at home."
"We really have enjoyed the party every year," she added. "Being able to come here gives us a way to celebrate the new year with our family."