The weather outside was frightful, but that didn’t stop the museum from drawing a crowd downtown Sunday night.
The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History held a “21+ New Years at the Museum” event from 9 p.m. up until time to count down to the end of the old year and the start of a new one.
During that three hours, adults were able to rotate around to different places on three stories to take part in Brian Gray and Raven Drums, a trivia night station, an adult craft station, a storytelling station, custom wine glasses and champagne toast at midnight.
Along with a three-course dinner earlier in the eve at Old North State Winery across the street, the full night of events was part of a fundraising effort for the museum.
“Telling ghost stories on New Years Eve — something people have been doing for hundreds if not thousands of years to pass the time of a long, cold, dark night,” said Kate Rauhauser-Smith, who led a group of visitors on her aural journey.
“What a great time we had at the museum’s celebration,” she said afterward.
On the second floor, Sonya Laney, museum director of education, showed folks how to use a glass etching paste to create designs on glass surfaces, such as a wine glass or beer stein that the people took home as souvenirs.
Ann Nimnicht said she was from Florida, but was in the city and was celebrating the new year by trying to decorate a wine glass with her friend Teresa Fleming, a Mount Airy native now living in Florida.
Joy Key paused from her artistic endeavors to say that she was from High Point. She was camping with friends at Mayberry Campgrounds, much to the shock of some of her other friends, considering the frigid temperatures.
By one thermometer, ’17 was ushered out at 17 degrees.
Despite the cold, a crowd of about 65-70 people stood outside to listen to local band Going Dutch perform from 11 p.m. to midnight — with the occasional trip into the vestibule for some hot cocoa.
As the time drew closer, Matt Edwards, museum executive director, said he saw more people walking along the sidewalks toward the museum courtyard. Others trickled outside from the museum events until the crowd had doubled what had been there moments before.
While Times Square in New York City has a ball drop to ring in the new year, Mount Airy instead had the opposite. As the seconds were counted down by the crowd, a lighted Mayberry Sheriff badge rose up into the air dozens of feet above onlookers.
After a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne,” along with some hugs and selfies, the frozen participants hurried off into the new year.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.