Aspenites put out call to party | AspenTimes.com

Aspenites put out call to party

Janet UrquhartThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Helium balloons, intended for New Year's Eve festivities at the Cantina in downtown Aspen, remained in the bar on Thursday. The bar's management was planning to offer free drinks for a period of time Thursday evening to "cheer up the community," said manager Alexandra Noronha.
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ASPEN At least some Aspenites are ready to ring in the New Year, even if it is a day late.Word of an F bomb celebration is spreading among locals who have Internet Facebook accounts. F— the bomb, lets celebrate reads the invitation circulating in the cyberspace social network. The invitation also displays the now-familiar photo of Jim Blanning, the man police say is responsible for bomb threats that forced the evacuation of downtown Aspen on New Years Eve, effectively halting the evenings planned revelry. The photo was captured on a security camera at one of the local banks where Blanning left a bomb and threatening note.Says the Facebook invitation: Dont change out of your little black dress, dont pay a cover but still bring in the new year in Aspen. Nobody can drop a bomb on our bad asses. Several bars and nightclubs are listed as participating venues.In addition, the city of Aspen has announced a fireworks display will take place over Aspen Mountain on Thursday at 8:30 p.m., since two scheduled pyrotechnics displays on Wednesday were canceled.Aspen resident Vanessa Corona added her voice to the lets party chorus, writing in a letter to The Aspen Times: Lets support local businesses and slam stupidity! Go out and eat shop and enjoy and celebrate like its 2009.Corona, forced to evacuate from downtown Aspen Wednesday night, said she found herself at a party where the sentiment to party again Thursday appeared to be gaining steam.I was just sad to hear of all the business that has been lost because of this idiot, she said.On Thursday, restaurateurs could only shake their heads over the lost revenue that resulted from the shutdown of much of the towns commercial center on Wednesday night.At Asie on Main Street, the staff prepared to reopen for lunch and dinner on Thursday amid streamers dangling from helium balloons that still clung to the ceiling. The restaurant planned to leave the decorations up, but its receipts will be down, said co-owner Young Yang.The restaurant was forced to close its doors before 6 p.m. Wednesday, ushering a few diners out with their dinners packed in to-go boxes. Those customers were also given a discount on their dinner bills, Yang said.The bulk of the evenings business some 150 dinner reservations and a couple of thousand dollars worth of takeout orders was lost, he said. The lost revenue will probably equal about 15 percent of Asies revenues for the winter season, Yang said.Thats a lot of money for us, he said.Mezzaluna on Cooper Avenue was packed with an aprs-ski crowd when it was instructed to evacuate at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, said owner Deryk Cave. The place was just about completely full, with two [people] deep at the bar, he said.Two planned New Years Eve dinner seatings did not take place. In all, the restaurant had reservations for about 175 people between the two seatings $21,000 worth of revenue not including beverage sales, he said.Pacifica, a seafood restaurant on the Mill Street mall, was initially outside the evacuation boundary and was able to serve its first of two dinner seatings, said general manager Nathan Harnish. But, authorities expanded the evacuation area as the evening went on, and the restaurant closed before it could seat the second round of diners.Harnish estimated the resulting lost revenue at close to $20,000.The Cantina bar and restaurant, less than a block away from one of the targeted banks, was forced to close at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, though the bar was busy, according to manager Alexandra Noronha. The Cantina had planned to shut down at 6 p.m. and reopen at 9:30 p.m. for a New Years Eve party featuring an open bar and DJ. It had sold about 180 reservations, at $120 per person, for the party, but was refunding all of the money, she said.Instead, the Cantina was planning to offer several hours of free drinks on Thursday evening to cheer up the community, Noronha said.Though the business lost revenue, she put the evacuation into perspective: You know something, if the bomb had really blown up, the lives are more important than the money.

For more on the impact of the New Years Eve evacuations on local businesses, see Fridays Aspen Times.janet@aspentimes.com


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