TEMPE, Arizona — Tempe will be ringing in the new year with a slightly different vibe this year.
The Downtown Tempe Authority has decided to scale back their efforts to organize New Year’s Eve events. This year, there will be no entry fee, and it will be up to individual merchants to organize events on their own. The DTA will still decorate the streets and hold community events throughout the holiday season.
The change comes after years of declining attendance, and the perception of direct competition with local vendors and merchants.
“We can’t find a way for merchants to reap the benefits,” says DTA Executive Director and President, Kate Borders. She says the DTA does not want to hold a communal New Year’s Eve Bash that would “damage the viability of the businesses we serve.”
She says that in the years after Fiesta Bowl sponsorship left Tempe, they have tried multiple methods to organize the events on NYE, but an entry fee and a DTA organized bar has siphoned money away from local businesses.
“$25 to get in means you will spend $25 less in local establishments,” says Borders.
Borders hopes that a decrease in sponsorship, and the control they had over past NYE events, will give local vendors an opportunity to profit from individual events.
“This year may be better for us and many of the other businesses on Mill,” says Julian Wright, Owner and Founder of Pedal Haus Brewery. “Our regular patrons will be able to enjoy the energy of Mill Avenue without having to pay to patronize their favorite places.”
Wright says they are deciding how to move forward in terms of collaboration with other bars and NYE events at Pedal Haus Brewery.
“We won’t be collaborating this year but may in the future once we see what the opportunities are.”
Borders says she hopes the price decrease will be an incentive for people to visit Tempe on NYE.