Crowd packs Poplar to ring in 2017 with Groove City Lady

CAMBRIDGE — For the first time in downtown Cambridge, Groove City Lady sailed down a track on Poplar Street to mark the New Year.

Groove City Lady is a 4-foot replica of a traditional waterman’s deadrise workboat. Brian Roche, chief technology officer at Bay Country Communications, Rob Kramer, a welder in Hurlock, and Scott Shilling, owner of Bay Country Communications, created the boat and ramp as a unique way to celebrate the New Year in Cambridge.

A contest to name the deadrise received 64 suggestions. Emcee for the night was DJ Bruce Patrick of WHCP Radio. The station’s studio is on the 500 block of Poplar Street right where the road was closed for the boat drop and celebration. During a live WHCP broadcast, Mr. Patrick, Mr. Roche and Mr. Kramer announced Groove City Lady as the winning boat name about 15 minutes before she cruised down the ramp to ring in 2017.

WHCP played upbeat music and took requests during the celebration while the downtown block was closed for the celebration from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. A small crowd started to gather around 11 p.m. Some of the stores held open houses as people toured the block. RaR Brewing hosted a live band and was packed. Jimmie and Sooks was also very busy.

As midnight drew closer and closer, the crowd outside near the boat ramp got larger and larger. While many young adults were there to party, a number of families with children anxiously awaited Groove City Lady’s descent as well.

Minutes before the New Year, Mr. Patrick interviewed Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley who said she was looking forward to seeing the boat drop and despite the cold, she was “heated up and ready to go.”

State Sen. Addie Eckardt also took in the festivities and told Mr. Patrick she was very excited to be there.

Finally, the countdown began. Groove City Lady was estimated to take five seconds to make its way down the 60-foot ramp, so as the crowd reached the count of five, she began her descent, plucking trotline crabs off the ramp as she made her way down. At the stroke of midnight, an LED sign at the top of the ramp lit up to read “2017,” balloons were released and most of the crowd shouted “Happy New Year,” while others embraced for a New Year’s kiss.

“It’s my desire to be anywhere there’s something good and positive happening in my community,” the mayor said moments after the beginning of the new year. “I want to be a part of this to show my support to those who have creative ideas. It’s a time for festivity and hope for the New Year.”

The mayor said she approves of the boat and it’s name.

“It’s just the cutest thing,” she said. “Groove City Lady, it’s the best name ever.”

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