Diddley’s Landing public pier will be the site of Blacktip Island’s New Year’s ‘Torch 2020’ bonfire celebrating the arrival of 2021 Friday night. (photo courtesy of Whitey Bottoms)
Blacktip Island community organizers are prepping for Friday night’s ‘Torch 2020’ bonfire at Diddley’s Landing to celebrate the end of the previous year.
“We talked about burning sage to chase off 2020’s negative energy, but there’s not enough sage on this island for that,” mayor Jack Cobia said. “Instead, we’re asking everybody on the island to bring anything 2020-related and chuck it on the biggest bonfire in Blacktip history.
“We went around and collected all the 2020 phone books to use as fire starter,” Cobia said. “We’re gonna do everything we can to burn away the ugliness of last year, literally and figuratively. It’s our way, as a community, to say, ‘F-U’ to that damn 2020 and make sure there’s no residual negativity in 2021.”
Organizers emphasized the all-inclusive nature of the event.
“We’ll light the fire right after sundown so kiddos can join in before they have to go to bed,” chamber of commerce president Whitey Bottoms said. “The fire’s open for everyone, and anything flammable is welcome. Have something that reminds you of 2020? Bring it. Burn it. We’ll all cheer.”
Others stressed the event’s festive nature.
“This isn’t some end-of-the-year bitch fest,” Catalina Luxfer said. “It’s a celebration of bad things going away and good things looming on the horizon. There’ll be music and food, and all the island bars have donated booze, so there’s free drinks for everyone who attends.
“The idea’s to get the psyches of the entire island focused on this,” Luxfer said. “The more people who participate, the better chance we have to generate positive vibes for 2021.”
Officials noted the safety measures in place.
“Sure, having a giant bonfire and free alcohol seems like a recipe for disaster,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “But they’ve set it up on the public pier, with water on three sides, so there’s low risk of it spreading to vegetation, and there’s plenty of room for spectators without crowding. We’ll try to keep folks upwind if anything plastic gets thrown on. And when it’s over, we’ll bulldoze the ashes into the sea.
“We’ve also stipulated the drink tables be set up far from the fire itself, especially the ones with the high-proof spirits,” Marquette said. “Open-container laws will be suspended at the pier for the duration of the fire. Booze was the only thing that’s kept this 2020 shit-show together, so, really, there was no way to exclude it.”
Officials were unsure how large the fire will be or how long it will burn.
“With the way this year’s gone, if everyone brings everything that sparks bad memories, this could be a multi-day affair,” Cobia said. “Folks are welcome to bring sleeping bags and tents and what have you.
“At dusk, Jerrod’ll say a few appropriate words before he’s had too much to drink,” Cobia said. “And Rafe’s promised to turn a blind eye to any interpersonal shenanigans going on. It’s a celebration, after all.”