By Harley Nefe
Folks can meet and have a place to celebrate the new year in Downtown Boone at The Horton Hotel and Rooftop Lounge with its second annual ball drop Thursday night.
Weather permitting, the ball drop will be located outside on the rooftop, which is visible from King Street, the Jones House lawn and numerous other places in Downtown Boone.
However, if it rains, the ball drop will take place indoors and go from the ceiling in the entrance to the floor in the lobby area.
“We felt it was important to try as hard as we could to keep the tradition alive,” said Fulton Lovin, hotel co-owner.
Due to North Carolina’s 9 p.m. curfew, the ball drop will occur at 8 p.m. There will also be a virtual live stream of the event.
“We’re doing what we can to celebrate the end of 2020 and the beginning of a new year within all the parameters,” said Denise Lovin, hotel co-owner.
The Horton Hotel and Rooftop Lounge is also following all guidelines including requiring masks and social distancing.
“The primary word is adaptability.” Fulton said. “We’re going to do a play by play depending on the weather. We’re all adapting to the virus, and we are going to adapt to a new ball drop that’s either going to take place on the rooftop or the main entrance area.”
This event will be first come first served with no reservations as space is limited. Doors will open at 4 p.m.
To help welcome 2021 and say goodbye to this year, they will be unveiling some new food items that will be added to the menu in addition to serving some festive cocktails, such as the featured F**k 2020! This cocktail is described on the menu as being risky and deceiving, sweet and sour. It contains Vodka, tequila, rum, gin, Bauchant, Chartruese, lemon, lime, and it is topped with pink aromatic tonic.
Visitors can enjoy new winter cocktails in the cozy lobby lounge along with other festive holiday specials, warm drinks and small bites.
The first time The Horton Hotel and Rooftop Lounge had the ball drop celebration was last year.
Denise said that the idea for doing their own ball drop was something that came together pretty quickly.
“We’re always wanting to do things that are new and exciting or us and the town, so Fulton thought he could engineer that. It’s nice to have him on hand not just for his creativity, but his ability to implement things quickly, so we decided why not just try it,” Denise said.
Last year, Fulton put up some cables and pulleys to make the ball drop become a reality, and at its peak, the ball was 18 feet above the rooftop. The ball was covered all over in Christmas lights. This year, Fulton said they are going to have the ball lit and on display the day before.
“2020 may not be the year we imagined; join us as we look toward new beginnings and better times in 2021,” Denise said.
Here are pictures of Fulton putting together the ball in 2019: