BOONE – Adhering to the state’s 10 p.m. curfew, the Horton Hotel rang in 2021 with a modified New Year’s Eve ball drop. The celebration took place on the hotel’s rooftop lounge overlooking King Street. There, a group of enthusiastic patrons eager to kiss 2020 goodbye counted down in unison as the dazzling ball of lights made an early descent at 8 p.m.

“It’s midnight somewhere,” said Denise Lovin, owner of the Horton Hotel referring to the ball drop’s time frame. “What else is normal in 2020?”

According to hotel staff, this year’s ball drop was geared as more of a “kick off” for their guests, who were free to continue celebrating in private following the rooftop event.

“We’re doing the countdown early, but it’s sort of a kick-off for them. Especially the hotel guests; they can continue to enjoy themselves in the hotel,” said Andrea Morton, the hotel’s director of operation. “We’ve been doing pre-sales of champagne and beer, so people are prepared and have their provisions for the rest of the night.”

Currently, North Carolina’s Executive Order 181 mandates that businesses who sell alcohol for onsite consumption must cease sales at 9 p.m.

In its second year, 2020’s Horton Hotel ball drop follows an unconventional year for many local business-owners, many of whom have made adjustments in order to keep staff and visitors safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving forward into 2021, the staff of the Horton looks toward the coming year with optimism and a hope that they can continue to move forward with providing patrons a bit of respite amongst the chaos.

“I hope that our staff can stay healthy and that our community can stay healthy,” said Lovin. “We want to continue to provide our guests with the positive experience that we’ve been offering.”

For more information about the Horton Hotel and Rooftop Lounge, visit or call (828) 832-8060.

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