Workers scurried under the half-erected tent, cinching down tent flaps, securing loose ends and lifting metal bars. A few fire barrels were scattered around the Grove, but otherwise, the public space on Eighth Street looked very much as usual ahead of the New Year's Eve Potato Drop, set to take place at midnight, Jan. 1.
That's about to change. The Potato Drop, which features a 16-foot Liberace-esque tuber descending the face of the U.S. Bank Building as part of Boise's New Year's festivities, will accompany perhaps even more dramatic changes at ground level, including unprecedented food truck access to the Grove Plaza, a beer tent, two music stages—not to mention an estimated 10,000 people crammed into the space.
Restaurants and bars near the Grove are cutting loose for the event. Lucky Fins, located on the plaza itself, will open its patio and keep is bar open until midnight. The seafood and sushi grill will not take reservations, and seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Piper Pub, which has a deck facing the action on the Grove, will turn on its space heaters, serve up champagne flights at midnight and stay open until 2 a.m. on New Year's Day.
"We have a really good view, so we're hoping a lot of people come," said Hailey Beers, who will work Piper Pub on New Year's Eve.
In preparation for the event, the Capital City Development Corporation will close Eighth Street from noon Tuesday, Dec. 31, until 8 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 1, to move equipment into the plaza and allow greater pedestrian access to the area.
Meanwhile, Main Street will also be closed from 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31-1:30 or 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 1, between Ninth Street and Capitol Boulevard for safety and equipment purposes.
"If something managed to fall, you wouldn't want people in cars underneath it," said John Wasson of the Ada County Highway District.
According to Wasson, the closures will affect street access and one or two Valley Ride buses, which have been diverted to stops on nearby Idaho Street. The Eastman Garage, located at 848 Main St., will be open.