Tryon Midnight to ring in the new year with all-local flair, fun for all ages

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, December 18, 2014

On Wednesday, Dec. 31 beginning at 7 p.m., Tryon will host its annual “Tryon Midnight” event at the clock tower and St. Luke’s Plaza in downtown Tryon. This Polk County New Years Eve event has been generously funded by a “Community Matters” grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF) and organized by the Tryon Downtown Development Association (TDDA).

“Our theme for this year is to ‘Keep it Local and Keep it Free,’ noted Tryon Midnight co-organizer Michael Baughman. “We want to provide a safe and free opportunity for all of Polk County to come ring in the New Year with their neighbors. We also want to patronize local businesses so almost everything we purchased for this event was bought right here in Polk County.”

This year’s free event will feature a host of family-friendly activities, live music, locally- sourced food, plus prizes and giveaways for all ages.

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Known around Polk County for its 10 p.m. ball drop, the event can be traced back to a bedazzled excercize ball, a fishing pole and…whim at a wine bar.

Tryon businessman Dean Trakas had been whimsically dropping a foil-wrapped excercize ball from a fishing pole for years from his then second floor restaurant porch in Marion, N.C. The Marion locals loved it, and he brought the idea to Tryon. It began to catch on as Polk County locals Andy Millard and Douglas Arbogast were inspired to help continue the tradition.

“I got involved during the second or third year, and totally by accident,” noted Andy Millard. “Sharon and I were eating dinner at Doug’s Wine Bar one New Year’s Eve when Doug came by our table in a panic. He needed a heavy-duty fishing pole to hang the ball from. I volunteered to run home and get {one}.”

And the rest…is Tryon Midnight history.

“A couple years ago I decided to spice things up by adding some music, reflected Andy Millard. “I brought out my PA system and hooked it up to my laptop. People seemed to like it, and TDDA really picked up the momentum.”

“Now backed by Tryon Downtown Development Association volunteers and Polk County Community Foundation,” said Tryon Midnight co-organizer Judd Daniel, “Tryon Midnight is one of the best Western North Carolina experiences on New Year’s Eve.”

For more information on Tryon Midnight visit

-Submitted by Carolyn Baughman