Although First Night has been canceled, Williamsburg will still have a New Year’s Eve party that’s open to residents.
The final day of 2017 will mark the first annual PG-500, a New Year’s Eve block party hosted by Amber Ox Public House and the Precarious Beer Project, according to owner Andrew Voss — who said in an interview he has high hopes for the event.
“We want PG-500 to be known as the New Year’s event to go to every year,” Voss said. “That’s our goal.”
For 24 years, First Night had been a Williamsburg New Year’s Eve tradition. However, this summer the organization that organized and ran First Night announced the event was being canceled due to a lack of funding and volunteers.
Now, PG-500 will have its chance to bear the torch.
PG-500 will be held in the 500 block of Prince George Street— hence its name— both in the street and inside two local businesses, Amber Ox and event partner The Hound’s Tale.
In front of Amber Ox, Voss said, they will set up a heated tent, measuring 130-by-30 feet. Guests will be able to listen to music from the bluegrass band JNM from West Point, sip on locally made beer, eat southern BBQ from the Amber Ox smoker, and ring in the new year.
Beer will be provided by Amber Ox’s brewery, which is known as the Precarious Beer Project, and area breweries Virginia Beer Company, Alewerks and Billsburg.
The block party begins at 7 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m., with live music beginning at 8 p.m. Guests will also be able to watch the televised ball drop from Times Square.
Rather than emulate First Night, PG-500 will have an energetic atmosphere, Voss said.
“We were planning to do something safe and low-key, but Amber Ox isn’t safe or low key,” Voss said.
Instead, Voss, co-owner Chris Cook and the team came up with the idea for PG-500, and it’s drawn community support.
“The merchants along the 500 block of Prince George Street, led by the new Amber Ox Public House, are to be commended for organizing a new and exciting New Year’s event,” Lee Ann Hartmann, the city’s communications specialist, wrote in an email. “This is a fantastic way to highlight and celebrate this particular section of our downtown area.”
In addition to the city, Chesapeake Bank and the City’s Economic Development Authority have also pledged financial support, Voss said.
The Hound’s Tale will be open until 12:30 a.m., and will offer full dinner service during normal hours. It was also offer wine and specialty cocktails all evening, with more food available in the tent.
Tickets to PG-500 cost $20, including food. Beer tickets are $5. For more information go here.
Amber Ox opened its doors earlier this month, but the kitchen and brewery are already making plans for the future of Prince George Street.
“We want to have and host events like this often,” Voss said. “We have ambition to do this on a quarterly basis.”
Tom Davis contributed reporting.