BY ROBERT RAFFAELE – Around the world, millions of people will welcome the new year on Friday night by taking part in small, intimate gatherings – or larger, more boisterous celebrations. Throughout the United States, many will break out party hats and uncork champagne or other libations.
At one party store in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, preparations for the New Year are in full gear. “We have party kits, champagne glasses, shot glasses, ensembles, you name it, we pretty much have it for New Year’s,” said the store manager.
And customers – eager to celebrate – are stocking up on all the necessities. One woman on a buying spree said, “We have the maracas, and we have the kazoo, and what’s the other thing – the air horn – we just got an air horn. The neighbors are going to love us.”
Some revelers may be making resolutions to behave better in 2011, but for now that’s not necessarily the case. One man said, “My new year’s resolution: to drink more and fall less.”
And for that gentleman and others like him, one guaranteed stop before the big festivities is the local liquor store. One customer and the owner of a liquor store in Washington talked about their New Year’s Eve plans.
The customer said, “Well, picked up a little bit of the bubbly [champagne], just to go with the protocol, but uh, plenty of beer will be drank [drunk], I can assure you.”
The liquor store owner said, “Sometimes to me, personally, it’s not even about selling things, it’s about [the fact that] people are much happier.”
There will certainly be plenty of good cheer in New York City’s Times Square, perhaps the biggest and best-known New Year’s celebration in the United States.
This week, organizers of the big celebration decided to “test” the confetti that will fall on the revelers. Some visitors to New York enjoyed the festive mood. One woman said, “It’s awesome, it’s perfect. Oh my god, it’s my first time in New York, so I’m so excited. It’s so cool.”
“It’s a really pretty sight and it’s, like, gorgeous with all the colors and everything,” said another woman walking in New York City.
“It’s a good thing … color … and it’s nice,” said yet another person.
With the flip of a light switch, organizers conducted a test of this year’s Times Square ball, decorated with more than 2,600 Waterford crystals and 32,000 LEDs.
This year’s theme is “Let There Be Love.”
Some one million people are expected to ring in 2011 in Times Square.