A New Year’s Eve event in Williamsburg had a successful first run— thanks to an area brewhouse and a host of sponsors who helped make it happen.
The PG-500 made its debut on the final night of 2017. Hosted by the Amber Ox Public House and The Hound’s Tale, the inaugural New Year’s Eve block party was a well-attended hit.
Amber Ox owner Andrew Voss said nearly 700 people attended the sold-out event on Prince George Street.
“The numbers were very impressive, especially for what I hate to describe as a last-minute event,” said Williamsburg Economic Development Authority Chair Adam Steely at an EDA meeting Wednesday.
The event was ‘last-minute’ because its planners opened the Amber Ox just weeks before New Year’s Eve.
Furthermore, for 24 years, First Night had been a Williamsburg New Year’s Eve tradition. However, last summer the organization that planned and operated First Night announced the event was being canceled due to a lack of funding and volunteers.
That left a vacuum for a New Year’s Eve event within the city limits, and when Amber Ox came forward with plans for the PG-500, local businesses and the city government stepped in to help fund the upstart event.
Chesapeake Bank, the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance and the City Manager’s Office each contributed funding that went toward the party’s tent, heaters and portable bathrooms, Voss said.
“All of our sponsors were a super, tremendous help,” Voss said. “It was great to see the support. We love the fact that the city is very interested in being a part of these events.”
On Wednesday, the EDA voted unanimously to reimburse the City Manager’s Office for the $5,000 it contributed in sponsorship for the event.
EDA Vice Chair Rick Overy called the event a “resounding success,” and said the EDA’s support for the event made sense because it fit with their goals of showcasing local businesses and highlighting the vibrancy of downtown.
Voss said he hopes to make the PG-500 bigger and better in year two and hopes to partner with the city again.
“Chris and I can’t thank you enough for the support the city offers for these types of events,” Voss wrote in an email to the City Manager that was shared with EDA meeting documents. “It is great to run a business in a city that openly supports progression and the development of the cities [sic] vibrancy.”