Thousands of people clamor for an opportunity to huddle together in the winter night and watch the ball drop at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
But instead of traveling to New York City for that experience this year, Myrtle Beach area residents could head to The Market Common to partake in the New Year’s Eve festivities: a Southern Times Square. The free event aims to have a Times Square feel, on a much smaller scale.
“We’re just trying to bring something different to the beach,” said Ashley Thomas, assistant general manager at Travinia Italian Kitchen, who pitched the idea to the shopping center’s general manager. “They could line up the streets like you would in Times Square. I think it will be really fun.”
The Myrtle Beach City Council approved plans Tuesday for the event, which would feature a large inflatable movie screen in front of Grand 14 Cinema showing the ball drop in New York, with The Market Common’s own ball drop from towers near the theater.
“We’re planning to have fire-eaters, stilt-walkers, magicians and a band,” Brooke Doswell, general manager at The Market Common, told City Council. “The residents are missing [having] events, dearly.”
The event, as proposed, would begin at 7 p.m. and close parts of Reed and Howard avenues and Deville and Lewis streets.
“I think that’s exciting,” said Mayor John Rhodes, adding he’d like to announce the ball drop similar to the way the mayor of New York does on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
The Market Common event would be one of a number of New Year’s celebrations hosted by businesses along the Grand Strand. Downtown Myrtle Beach, through the Oceanfront Merchants Association, had considered having a street party to ring in 2014, but scaled back to just fireworks.
The Market Common event also would feature a tent at the corner of Howard and Reed avenues for participants who are 21 years old or older wanting to buy alcohol.
Assistant city manager John Pedersen said people would not be allowed to walk around The Market Common with alcohol, and all drinks would have to be consumed either inside the tent or in a corralled-off area outside the tent.
Gordon Biersch manager Brian Tressler said the restaurant and brewery usually has live music on New Year’s Eve, a champagne toast at midnight and stays open until about 1 a.m.
“I think we’ll benefit from it if it’s a recurring thing,” he said. “A lot of times if something isn’t successful the first year, they don’t do it again. … Hopefully it will be a big success for us.”
Thomas at Travinia said she hopes The Market Common is able to keep the party going in years to come.
“New Year’s Eve is always our biggest night of the year,” she said, saying the restaurant typically has to turn away people who don’t have reservations. “Personally, I just thought it would be something fun for people do to, especially because sometimes the weather is really nice.”
Doswell said she also hopes the residents will be able to participate in a golf cart parade. City spokesman Mark Kruea said event planners are looking for a way to work with police to have the parade, because golf carts are not allowed on city streets after dark.
Doswell said The Market Common still was working out the details. According to its website, more information will be posted as it becomes available at http://marketcommonmb.com/eventgallery.php.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.