The countdown to 2014 begins...

ccope@thestate.comDecember 28, 2013 

Charles Appleby IV and Stacey Collins, both of Columbia, ring in the new year at the State House during last year's Famously Hot New Years celebration.

FILE PHOTOGRAPH — The State Buy Photo

  • Famously Hot New Year’s

    When, and who’s playing

    Gates open at 6:30 p.m.; festivities wrap up at 1 a.m.

    Weaving the Fate will start around 7:30 p.m.

    ZZ Ward will start around 9 p.m.

    Kool & the Gang will start around 10:30 p.m. and conclude at 12:30 a.m. with a short break for midnight festivities.


    Main and Gervais streets in Columbia; stage is in front of the State House on Gervais


    The event will go on rain or shine.

    The weather is forecast to be clear and dry, with a low temperature of 29 degrees.


    All bags will be subject to search, and valid state-issued ID is required at all entry gates. City of Columbia police have expanded coverage planned in anticipation of a larger crowd.

    A little extra

    The City of Columbia Ice Rink, in front of the Columbia Museum of Art at Hampton and Main, will be open until 1 a.m. New Year’s Eve

    A little extra more

    $125 will get you access to the VIP Absolut Lounge, in the lobby of the Capitol Center, at Gervais and Assembly streets. Access includes an indoor party area, indoor restrooms, an open bar and dedicated parking.


    Cameras are welcome

    No pets (except service dogs)

    All bags and IDs checked at point of entry

    No backpacks, chairs or lawn furniture

    No food or beverages, picnic baskets, umbrellas, containers or coolers of any kind

    No bicycles, skateboards, scooters, or personalized motorized vehicles (exceptions for people with mobility limitations)

    No fireworks or explosives

    No illegal substances or weapons of any kind

    No instruments or laser pointers

    No illegal vending is permitted

    Must be 21 to purchase beer or wine

    Must be 21 to enter VIP area

    Getting home

    Budweiser of Columbia, Checker Yellow Cab and Free Times are providing cab rides home for up to $10. From 11 p.m.-3 a.m., cabs will be stationed near the corner of Lady and Sumter streets. Or you can call Checker Yellow Cab at (803) 799-3311.

Whether it’s exercising more or managing money better, many revelers’ New Year’s Eve resolutions will be broadcast on a large LED screen Tuesday in front of thousands of Columbia residents and tourists.

The screen will stream resolutions that have been tweeted with the hashtag #FHNYResolution at the third annual Famously Hot New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Columbia that night.

Sam Johnson, special assistant to the mayor and co-chair of the event, recently tweeted that his 2014 New Year’s resolution is to respond to all text messages and voicemails within a two-day period.

“I don’t know if that’s a realistic one, though,” he said later.

The goal of Famously Hot New Year is to “really create the Times Square of the South,” Johnson said.

The event began as a brainchild of Mayor Steve Benjamin to showcase all Columbia has to offer, said Clare Morris, spokesperson for the event.

In its first two years, the party has attracted a combined 45,000 people to Main Street.

The event, held at Main and Gervais streets, aims to draw a multigenerational crowd, including college students, their parents and maybe even their grandparents, Morris said.

Morris said organizers have been promoting the event to colleges outside of Columbia but around the state, including Francis Marion University and South Carolina State University.

The hosts of the evening will be WACH Fox anchor Tyler Ryan and former Miss Black South Carolina Pasha Franklin.

An exciting part of the event is that it is free for those who want to attend, Morris said.

However, there are also VIP tickets on sale for $125.

The tickets provide access to the VIP Absolut Lounge in the lobby of the Capitol Center, at Gervais and Assembly streets. Access includes an indoor party area, indoor restrooms, an open bar and dedicated parking.

And the party definitely has fireworks that will light up the sky behind the State House.

Justin Pruett is in charge of the display and said it’s one of the biggest in the Carolinas on the holiday.

“I feel pretty confidently that it will be the most thrilling and intense show on New Year’s Eve,” Pruett said.


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