South Florida Rings in the New Year

By Al Pefley  email

West Palm Beach, FL  (WFLX)

The rest of the country may be shivering. But it's a balmy tropical New Year's eve in downtown West Palm Beach.

What better place to ring in the New Year than on Clematis Street?

The 500-block  of  Clematis is closed to traffic and it's a big block party.

They've got a stage with several rock bands, lots of food and goodies, and of course a beer truck for all those thirsty partiers who are here to say goodbye to 2009 and welcome in a brand new year.

We found lots of happy smiling people, some of them dressed for the occasion to celebrate New Year's eve in style.

"We all went as crazy as we could go, all my whole family. We tried to get as crazy as we could. We're bringing in the new year!" said Jim Schomberg of West Palm Beach, wearing a big fuzzy blue hat and oversized blue sunglasses.

"I hope it's a better year, yeah.   2009 wasn't the best year. So I  hope 2010 is a better year," said Kandi Ruiz of Jupiter, wearing a bright red party dress and New Year's tiara.   She told us she lost her job recently but hopes to find another one.

Meanwhile, in Delray Beach,  there's a huge bash there on Atlantic Avenue.

It's the annual First Night New Year's eve celebration.  A family-friendly event catering to parents with small kids and also grown-ups who are looking for a less rowdy alcohol-free New Year's eve party.

They offer disco dancing, ice skating, a rock climbing wall, music, face painting and plenty of fun.

"I get a whole night with my grandchildren. We play, we go out to dinner. This is our second year coming down to First Night and I absolutely love it!  It just makes me feel happy. This is what it's all about, you don't need to drink to have a good time," said Joni Meyers of Boynton Beach, who brought her two grandsons and a couple of their friends.

Back  at Clematis Street, there are fireworks on the Intracoastal Waterway at midnight, and a ping pong ball drop.  They'll be dropping  six-thousand ping pong balls onto the street at midnight, and anyone who finds a specially-colored ball  can win a prize.