News Article | 1/4/2008

Dallas’ Own Times Square

In the waning moments of 2007, Dick Clark was presiding over yet another New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Times Square was stuffed. The party was in full swing.

But North Texas TV viewers might have done a double-take as the cameras cut away to another shot of shivering masses.

Wait a second. Was that … Dallas?

Indeed. Thousands of revelers crammed into Victory Park to count down to 2008. The first “Big D NYE” event kicked off with a few bands and ended with a bang as fireworks exploded above American Airlines Center.

After an assortment of failed attempts to bring an annual bash to the heart of the city, Dallas finally may have this New Year’s thing figured out.

The bright-lights, big-city feel of Victory Park was ideal for the event. With towering television screens broadcasting the festivities, hip restaurants and bars lining the streets and DART trains delivering people to the party, this was an urban experience.

At last, Dallas has a public gathering space. And the inaugural Big D NYE portends bigger and better festivities in the future.

Monday night, only a few folks arrived unfashionably early, but waves of party-goers poured into AT&T Plaza as midnight approached. Dallas Stars fans descended en masse after the hockey game, and diners and drinkers emerged from Victory hot spots.

Next year, organizers should build on their success by making this more of an evening-long extravaganza. Scheduling additional entertainment and providing more food and drink options outdoors would help jumpstart the celebration.

Also, expanding the boundaries of the gathering would create an even bigger scene and would give revelers a little room to roam.

In general, though, Dallas’ party planners should not mess with a good thing – and that includes the price of admission. Free and open to the public are big selling points for a New Year’s Eve celebration.

Previous efforts to create an annual event petered out when organizers started selling tickets. But organizers can learn from others’ mistakes as they start work on the next Big D NYE.

Let the countdown to 2009 begin.