Salisbury partygoers happy, hopeful for new year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 1, 2013

SALISBURY — Although no big bell rang at the Bell Tower this New Year’s Eve, that didn’t silence Salisbury’s merriment and cheer.
Hundreds of people gathered Monday night for the annual celebration at the Bell Tower. Several of them said they’re content with the past year and hopeful for the one to come.
Both 2012 and 2013 hold special significance for Tisha and Erick Mowery, of Salisbury.
Last year, they got married. In the new year, they’re expecting a child.
Erick’s mother, Melanie Mowery, said that’s what she’s looking forward to in 2013 — “a new, healthy grandchild.”
Melanie and her husband, Roger, brought two grandchildren they already have to the celebration Monday night.
“We have been here before several times … but it’s their first time,” she said. “It’s a nice, family-oriented event.”
Both of her grandchildren stared in awe at the Bell Tower and talked about how big it is.
For the past two years, the bell inside has not rung on New Year’s Eve because of safety concerns about the tower.
Last year, a retired bell from the Salisbury Fire Department was used, and small bells were given to members of the crowd. People were invited to bring their bells back this year.
At midnight, the sound of some of those little bells joined cheers, honking horns and buzzing noisemakers.
Salisbury musicians Jeremy and Jessica Vess led hundreds of revelers in a countdown to midnight, followed by a rousing chorus of “Auld Lang Syne.”
From 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., the couple sang and played music for the crowd.
Those gathered for the festivities enjoyed treats of cookies and hot cocoa, and they joined together in a toast with sparkling cider. People also had the chance to enter drawings for Downtown Dollars gift certificates.
This is the first year that the Rowan-Salisbury Convention and Visitors Bureau has sponsored the event. Previously, the sponsor was Downtown Salisbury, Inc.
“I think it went well,” said James Meacham, executive director of the Tourism Development Authority. “I think it’s good to provide a family event for the community to ring in the new year.”
Kim Sadler has lived in Salisbury all her life and even got married at the bell tower park, but she had never celebrated the new year there.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” Sadler said. “This is really nice.”
Kim and her husband, Will, say 2012 has been a good year and they hope 2013 will be even better.
“Everybody’s healthy, and we’ve avoided a layoff, so we’re fortunate for that,” he said.
Scott Polk came all the way from Florida to join the chilly celebration Monday night.
He and his daughter Alix, 12, are visiting his brother-in law, Salisbury resident Bill Fisher.
“His daughter and his wife were very excited about it,” Polk said. “I love it. It’s great — beautiful.”

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.