Harrisburg residents are excited about the return of holiday traditions as restaurants gear up for “the biggest night of the year.”
HARRISBURG, PA — Signs of the season are everywhere at Arooga’s Grill House and Sports Bar on Second Street in Harrisburg. The staff put the finishing touches on the decor and installed the grill in anticipation of a once-in-a-lifetime New Year’s Eve celebration.
“We have a great selection of great drinks and food specials, and we look forward to people coming to enjoy the entertainment we have to offer,” said Arooga’s kitchen manager Jasin Reimer.
With the annual Strawberry Festival returning to downtown for the first time since welcoming 2020, Harrisburg is getting even more excited about the New Year. With the normal festivities getting ready, Arooga’s is serving food inside and out, offering delicious hot dishes heading into New Year’s Day.
“Harrisburg is back,” Reimer said. “It’s going to be great weather. A little drizzle, but other than that, it’s going to be the most fun we’ve had in a long time.”
There’s a similar scene a few doors down at Cafe Fresco Center City.
“One of the biggest nights of the year, if not the biggest,” says Brian Fertenbaugh, owner of Cafe Fresco Center City and Level 2 nightclubs.
Waiters take orders and bartenders serve cocktails just before the evening rush, FOX43 found, as the 2023 festivities kick off at Cafe Fresco and Level 2 Nightclub on the ground floor. Owner Brian Fertenbaugh has been waiting for a night like this.
“With all the restrictions from last year still in place, we really haven’t seen what we wanted to see tonight in three years,” Fertenbaugh said.
As the traditional festivities return to town, restaurants are nearly full. With 2023 looming, Fertenbaugh said, this is the best question he can hope for.
“We have a lot of reservations tonight,” Fertenbaugh said. “We don’t have a lot of walking space, but there will be some foot traffic due to the strawberries falling. We hope this will reduce the crowds and that the weather is not a factor there.”
Several downtown businesses will be opening extended hours tonight as the party continues into the morning.