Occupy Dover fills New Year’s Eve entertainment void in state capital

Occupy Dover members who have spent days and nights at Legislative Mall since November 18th are organizing a New Year’s Eve celebration for the community this Saturday.

Melanie Moyer of Occupy Dover says the New Year’s Eve event begins at noon.  About 13 bands and DJ’s will be performing a variety of music, including hip-hop, folk, acoustic. 

Nearly three dozen vendors, mostly local businesses, will also be spread out on the mall.  Vendors who make profits during the day have agreed to donate 10-percent of their proceeds to local charities. 

Youngsters will be able to enjoy arts and crafts, a moon bounce and other activities.  A ball drop at midnight will welcome the new year. 

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“We actually started working on this about three weeks ago,” Moyer says, adding that the preparation has involved lining up performers and business support, and obtaining and paying for the necessary permits and liability coverage. 

A traditional New Year’s Eve activity at the capital, First Night Dover, will not be returning this year.  Organizers of the event which was held for 15 years decided in February it would not be possible to continue due to shrinking donations and grants that supported the annual multi-venue, alcohol-free celebration. 

First Night Dover is not affiliated with Occupy Dover’s celebration, and Moyer says it is not designed to replace First Night. 

“It’s going to be very low-key, family-friendly,” Moyer says.

Occupy Dover began its encampment November 18th, in support of the national movement to highlight disparity in wealth and income and the influence of money and corporations in the political process.  About a dozen tents are set up at Legislative Mall just across from the state capital building. 

While Occupy Dover will likely have an information table, Moyer says it was not their goal to “hijack” New Year’s Eve.  “This is a community event, that’s really the whole idea for it,” she adds. 

Future activities involving Occupy Dover include a “welcome back” barbecue January 10th, when the Delaware General Assembly returns to session.

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