At midnight Sunday, the city of Villa Rica will “faithfully” mark New Year’s Eve as the Journey tribute band Departure headlines the annual Gold Nugget Drop.

The event, which will be capped by a fireworks show, is free and will take place rain or shine, starting at 10 p.m. at The Mill amphitheater, 106 Temple St. The show will conclude at 12:15 a.m.

Those who attend are advised to bundle up. The Sunday night is forecast to have snow showers in the late evening, with temperatures dipping below freezing. 

VIP tables of six seats can be reserved for $30 until they are sold out. Main Street Manager Janet Chumley said a few tables are available and can be purchased by calling 678-785-1092, or by coming by Gold Dust Park at 646 Industrial Blvd.

Departure is a tribute band for the 1980s super group Journey, whose songs form the soundtrack of a generation, with such hits as “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Faithfuly,” “Open Arms,” “Lights” and “Wheel in the Sky.”

The band replicates these songs, as well as the look, sound and feel of Journey. The group considers itself the most respected band honoring the ‘80s group, and lead vocalist Brian Williams is known for matching Journey front man Steve Perry both in vocal range and on-stage performance.

The group has been together 10 years and features all five of its original members. The group, based in north Atlanta, performs with live instruments without recorded accompaniment. They travel the nation, giving about 100 performances per year.

The Gold Nugget Drop began in 2011, and commemorates Villa Rica’s history as the site of the nation’s first gold rush. It involves a 6-by-6-foot simulated gold nugget being lowered by cable 32 feet into an “ox cart.” The event was created to provide a New Year’s Eve event for city residents so they would not have to travel to Atlanta or elsewhere.

When the nugget reaches the end of its 32-foot “drop,” an illuminated “2018” sign will flash, marking the start of the New Year. Fireworks will then illuminate the sky.

Promoters of the event are encouraging attendees to bring a lawn chair, picnic basket and non-alcoholic beverages to the event. No smoking, vaping, tents or pets are allowed at The Mill.


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