Ring in the New Year in downtown Somerset

In lieu of Light Up Bash, city will host show at The Virginia and promote all entertainment happening downtown

SOMERSET, KENTUCKY (Novem­ber 20, 2023) — There will be plen­ty to cel­e­brate on New Year’s Eve in down­town Som­er­set this year, but it will look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than in years past.

Since 2019, the City of Som­er­set has host­ed the Light Up Bash on Foun­tain Square, an annu­al free fes­ti­val that brings the com­mu­ni­ty togeth­er to ring in the new year with a “prop drop” count­down, live music, food trucks and spir­its. But with the growth of enter­tain­ment options down­town, sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing busi­ness­es that are host­ing New Year’s events will now become the city’s focus.

“It’s so excit­ing to see how far we’ve come,” said Leslie Ikerd, See Som­er­set tourism direc­tor. “When we first start­ed this fes­ti­val in 2019, our down­town was not near­ly as robust with nightlife as it is today. That was the goal in intro­duc­ing these fes­ti­vals — that we would help spur growth and build a vibrant down­town, the heart­beat of any com­mu­ni­ty. Now, with The Vir­ginia and a host of restau­rants and bars offer­ing live music, there are so many options for res­i­dents to enjoy when cel­e­brat­ing New Year’s. Our goal is to help pro­mote every­thing hap­pen­ing in down­town Som­er­set on New Year’s Eve and encour­age our res­i­dents and vis­i­tors to spend their evening vis­it­ing as many of these estab­lish­ments as pos­si­ble.”

The City of Som­er­set will not close the streets on New Year’s Eve. There will still be food trucks parked down­town for those who want to grab some­thing to eat while cel­e­brat­ing. Because the streets will not be closed, Ikerd said those who come down­town should be aware that they will not be able to move freely in the streets with alco­holic bev­er­ages as they can dur­ing fes­ti­vals. If you choose to pur­chase alco­holic bev­er­ages, they must be con­sumed before leav­ing any estab­lish­ment.

If you love to dance the night away with the cov­er band that tra­di­tion­al­ly plays the annu­al Light Up Bash, don’t wor­ry, you can still do that. The Next Lev­el Band of Char­lotte will ring in the new year at The Vir­ginia along with Travis Har­ris and The West Coast Turn­arounds. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the music begins at 7, with The Next Lev­el Band tak­ing the stage at 9:30 p.m. and play­ing through mid­night. Tick­ets are $25 and avail­able at thevirginiaky.com.

“The shin­ing star of down­town Som­er­set is tru­ly The Vir­ginia, our beau­ti­ful live per­for­mance venue,” Ikerd said. “It made a lot of sense to us to take the music indoors and pro­vide a lit­tle more of an upscale expe­ri­ence. Dress up or dress down, it doesn’t mat­ter to us — we want peo­ple to have fun with it and con­tin­ue to offer oppor­tu­ni­ties for our res­i­dents and vis­i­tors to enjoy this beau­ti­ful space.”

And while there may not be a prop drop this year — the cer­e­mo­ni­al low­er­ing of a met­al sculp­ture that fea­tures the pro­peller in the City of Somerset’s logo as the clock ticks toward mid­night — Som­er­set May­or Alan Keck said he hopes peo­ple will still come down­town and ring in the new year at one of the many estab­lish­ments open that night.

“Whether you buy a tick­et to enjoy the show at The Vir­ginia, or if you just hop from one venue to the next, there is going to be plen­ty to enjoy and cel­e­brate on New Year’s Eve in down­town Som­er­set,” Keck said. “I can’t wait to see our local busi­ness­es teem­ing with peo­ple and peo­ple danc­ing and singing with two out­stand­ing bands at The Vir­ginia. Come on down­town on New Year’s Eve — you’ll see why we call our­selves the Spir­it of South­ern Ken­tucky.”

Get updates on what busi­ness­es will be open and what enter­tain­ment they will offer by fol­low­ing See Som­er­set Tourism on Face­book @SeeSomersetKy or on Insta­gram @seemyset.

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