WASHINGTON - Cities throughout the world are increasing security measures in the wake of November’s terror attacks in Paris and Washington is certainly no exception.
An annual New Year's Eve celebration at one D.C. hotel is being moved to Philadelphia as promoters cited "recent world events" for the change.
The "Downtown Countdown" was scheduled to be held at the Washington Hilton. Hundreds of people were expected at the big event and there was going to be a live band and a 6-hour open bar.
On Tuesday night, ticketholders received emails from the promoter, Lindy Promotions and Joonbug Events, that the event was being canceled because the hotel considers itself a "soft target" in light of terrorism concerns in D.C. and New York.
Craig Belldina, of Fairfax, Virginia, had a ticket to the event and he told us that he reached out to the promoter and they told him that the company was not comfortable with large gatherings due to ISIS threats in the D.C. area.
The Washington Hilton said in a statement to FOX 5:
"Unfortunately, the organizers have decided to move this venue to another location. We wish them continued success."
Belldina said he was alarmed that a hotel that has hosted presidents and world leaders and even the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan is having strong security concerns.
"They answered the phone shockingly and they were very forthright and said the Hilton felt uncomfortable with the gathering of so many people due to ISIS threats,” said Belldina. “They refunded the money right away.”
John Gabel, the CEO of Joonbug Events, said in a statement:
"The hotel let us know recently that they consider themselves a soft target due to recent threats on New York and DC.
"With these concerns we wanted to increase security measures but the amount in which the hotel demanded we increase it by made the event."
FOX 5 did forward this information to both the Metropolitan Police Department and D.C.’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and sought comment, but have not heard back.
Joonbug Events is going ahead with other New Year’s Eve parties in New York, Philadelphia and Boston.
The full statement sent to customers is posted below:
Dear Valued Customer,
Due to recent worldwide events we are deeply sorry to announce that the Downtown Countdown at The Washington, D.C. Hilton has been moved to The Piazza at Schmidt's in Philadelphia due to uncontrollable circumstances. We apologize for any inconveniences this change may have caused you. We will happily refund all paying customers or transfer your ticket to the new venue in Philadelphia. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call us at (215) 922-3839. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience.
Lindy Promotions & Joonbug Events