Monday's a busy day at Raylene's Pennyrich, a Carytown bra shop, where Raylene Wilkinson answers reporters' questions, works with a broken arm and maintains an upbeat attitude — all the while, a countdown is ticking.
Two and a half days to Carytown New Year's Eve.
After the ball rises at the Byrd Theatre — it doesn't drop like one in a certain city — Wilkinson and the Carytown Merchants Association will focus on the bottom line. Like her shop, Wilkinson wants to be penny-rich, not thousands of dollars in the hole.
“We lost $20,000 last year,” she says of the New Year's event, “and we're not going to lose $20,000 this year — not if I can help it. Not on my watch.”
Expenses for the event have risen from around $98,000 in 2007 to somewhere between $125,000 and $130,000 this year, she says, in part because of security costs.
Wilkinson says it's unlikely that this year's corporate sponsorships — which range from $1,000 to $20,000 — along with other event revenue will be enough to offset expenses.
With a new $2 donation requested from attendees, she says, “we're hoping that brings us back to even.”
The association estimates that 20,000 to 25,000 people will turn out for the Dec. 31 street party, from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The bands Back in Da Day, Prabir and the Substitutes and the Secret Cool are slated to perform onstage at Auburn and Cary — near Wachovia Bank and Babe's. (Full info at carytown.org.)
Sponsors include the Virginia Lottery, Sauer's, Commonwealth Commercial and Absolut Vodka. RVA magazine, which helped put on the event in years past, is no longer participating. “We just felt that we needed a different take on how the event should function,” Wilkinson says. “We want it to be family-oriented.”