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West Palm Beach rings in new year with downtown block party

Thousands estimated to have packed Clematis Street on New Year's
Posted at 12:16 AM, Jan 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-01 00:16:25-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Downtown West Palm Beach came alive with activity Saturday night as thousands packed Clematis Street for a block party to ring in the new year.

"We’re probably expecting three, four, five times the normal turnout," said Rodney Mayo, head of Subculture Group, which organized the event. "It's New Year's Eve. Everybody comes out New Year's Eve."

Subculture Group hosts a block party on Clematis Street every weekend, yet Mayo and others said this block party is bigger and better.

"It's definitely one of the biggest nights of the year," said Kristen Dagata, Subculture Group's operations and events coordinator. "People want a place to go to get their champagne at midnight, stay all night, because it's the first of the year, and everybody wants to spend their first few minutes with the people they love in really nice places."

Mayo said for him, the influx of people packing the streets is both exhausting and rewarding.

"It's my toughest night of the year," said Mayo. "We look forward to the Christmas holiday and New Year's Eve. As far as business, it kind of gets us caught up from summer and launches us into the season."

Rodney Mayo discusses 2022-23 New Year's celebration
Rodney Mayo says New Year's Eve is always a big night for his Subculture Group.

The celebrations included a dinner and an open bar for those who purchased tickets. Those who didn't could still enjoy live music, a drag show, vendors, games and other entertainment.

"It's New Years, everybody’s just in the spirit, to be here on the street, it’s incredible," said Pinkie Patel, who celebrated the holiday with her family at a nearby restaurant.

"There’s a lot of families, a lot of music," added Tonya Lazala, who came out to the block party with her two daughters. "We're just doing this for a little bit. Then we're going to go get the grapes and the champagne."

For some who spoke to WPTV, New Year's Eve is a time to celebrate.

"We're getting hammered," said Jason Williams and his friends.

Others said it's a day to reflect on the past.

"The last two to three years have been really hard on a lot of people," said Man Pereetgosal. "We're blessed that we've done OK."

Still, others said it's a day to look ahead to the future.

"Trying to do something different, move forward and leave all the stuff behind you," said Lazala.

All, however, agreed no matter how or why you celebrate, the important thing is ringing in the New Year with loved ones.

“With my sister and my husband and my son, like, you can't beat that," said Patel.

The block party goes from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. Sunday, but many who celebrated gathered much earlier and stayed much later.

If anyone missed the block party, Subculture Group hosts a block party every weekend in the 500 block of Clematis Street.