Biggest NYE Fireworks in the Carolinas Will Sparkle over the S.C. State House
(updated December 31, 2016)
The free Famously Hot New Year celebration – South Carolina’s largest New Year’s Eve party – is set to let the good times roll in the New Southern Hot Spot this Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., next to the S.C. State House at Main and Gervais in downtown Columbia, S.C.
In its sixth year, Famously Hot New Year (#FHNY) encompasses a fun, festival atmosphere with a free, full-length concert by New Orleans musical royalty, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, along with jangle-pop stars Sister Hazel; a midnight countdown; the biggest NYE fireworks display in the Carolinas; free parking til Jan. 2 in City of Columbia garages, $10 KW Beverage Alert Cab discounts; $3 unlimited COMET rides and park-and-rides; food trucks and a “Comfort Zone” seating area; a hands-on, interactive art installation with giant Scrabble tiles by artist Karl Larsen and Crescent Construction; and beer, wine & bubbly bars. Guests can plan their #FHNY weekend at www.famouslyhotnewyear.com.
FHNY Celebration Schedule
6:30 p.m. | Concert gates open
7:00 p.m.—7:30 p.m. | Mike Stone & the Kritikal Band
7:50 p.m.—8:45 p.m. | The Capital City Playboys
9:15 p.m.—10:15 p.m. | Sister Hazel
10:45 p.m.—11:55 p.m. | Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
11:55 p.m.—12:10 a.m. | Midnight countdown with Mayor Benjamin
12:00 a.m. | Largest NYE fireworks in the Carolinas, over the S.C. State House
12:15—12:30 a.m. | Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue finale and dancing
12:30 a.m. | Beer, wine and champagne sales end
1:00 a.m. | Celebration ends
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, the funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop/multi-piece brass band known internationally as New Orleans musical royalty, will headline Famously Hot New Year’s free, full-length outdoor concert, directly supported by popular folk rock/jangle pop/classic Southern rock band Sister Hazel, known for 90s anthem “All for You.” Local rockabilly band The Capital City Playboys, and R&B/soul group Mike Stone and the Kritikal Band will open the free concert.
Live Broadcast, Celebrity Emcees and Co-Chairs
The event will be live broadcast on TV by WLTX News 19 and via radio by Alpha Media station The Big DM 101.3/WWDM. WLTX anchor Darci Strickland, three-time Emmy-award winning journalist and University of South Carolina alum, will co-emcee FHNY, along with Hot 103.9/WHXT DJ Neek, Q 93.5/WARQ DJ Croghan, and Big DM/WWDM’s Shamara, multi-award winning radio host. Famously Hot New Year’s co-chairs and official spokespeople are Laura Basile, Neonatologist at Palmetto Health Richland, and Mario Melendez, Financial Representative / Field Director at Northwestern Mutual.
FAQs for Famously Hot New Year
- How much does it cost?
- Admission is free for all ages.
- Is this an event for all ages?
- Yes! Everyone is welcome, regardless of age. You must be 21 or over to purchase or consume alcohol at FHNY.
- What if it rains or snows?
- This is a rain or snow celebration. Make plans to have a terrific evening, no matter the weather. If it does rain, bring a poncho and your dancing shoes! (Please note: umbrellas will not be allowed inside the FHNY gates.)
- Can I leave the event and return later?
- Of course! If you leave and return, you will have to go through the security gates.
- Can I bring a bag?
- Leave bags at home to get through entry gates more quickly! All bags will be checked by hand. Clear bags are encouraged (but not required) for those who must bring bags.
- Is there anything that I CANNOT bring into the event area?
- We like to party, and we like to keep the party fun for everyone. While you are allowed to bring a bag, please note that there will be a thorough security check point at each of the community gates. If you can fit everything in your pockets – do it! It will help streamline the entry process.
Prohibited items include:
- Weapons of any kind
- Illegal substances
- Food or beverage of any kind
- Alcohol (beer, wine and champagne will be sold at the event)
- Containers or coolers of any kind
- Skateboards, scooters or personal motorized vehicles (exceptions for people with mobility limitations)
- Fireworks and explosives
- Instruments and laser pointers
- Picnic baskets
- Chairs, tables, lawn or other furniture
- Pets (except service dogs)
- No illegal vending is permitted—no unauthorized/unlicensed vendors allowed
- Nope! There are no backstage passes available for the celebration. The street is where it’s at!
- Can I get a backstage pass?
- Can I bring my pet?
- No. For the safety of everyone attending, pets must remain at home. Service animals trained to assist disabled persons will be allowed into the event.
- Are cameras allowed at the event?
- No flash photography, video or audio recordings are permitted during the live, on-stage performances at Famously Hot New Year. During the street party, however, photography and social interaction is encouraged! Facebook, tweet and Instagram your photos with hashtag #FHNY.
View more FAQs here: www.famouslyhotnewyear.com/faqs
Event Footprint and Clear Bag/No Bag Policy
For 2016, event organizers have retooled the event footprint of Famously Hot New Year, moving the entertainment stage one block to the east from the original location of Main and Gervais. The new stage location will be on Gervais St., backing up to Sumter St., with the stage facing west toward the river. Sumter Street itself will remain open throughout the event. Because Gervais Street is so much wider, the new stage location increases visibility and improves concert acoustics for audience members, creating more space and comfort for guests.
The new layout also allows easier access to Main Street merchants and festival food and drink vendors. Law enforcement and emergency medical services will be able to monitor and move through the crowd more readily, increasing safety precautions.
The midnight fireworks show will remain above the picturesque S.C. State House.
All bags will be subject to security screening. Therefore, guests are encouraged to leave bags at home or use clear, see-through bags to expedite entry at the gates.
Items that are not allowed inside entry gates include the following: no coolers, chairs, tables, pets (outside of service animals), backpacks, skateboards/scooters, bicycles (bike parking is available throughout downtown Columbia), fireworks, laser pointers, picnic baskets, umbrellas, weapons, illegal substances, food or alcohol (food, beer, wine and bubbly will be for sale at the event).
FHNY urges locals to utilize the affordable, clean and safe transportation system of The COMET for just $3 flat, with unlimited rides to and from FHNY via two options: visiting a local bus stop and hopping on one of 14 routes that run across the Midlands, or driving to one of four easy park-and-ride locations, from Harbison to Trenholm Plaza. Buses will run across the Midlands beginning at 6:00 p.m. December 31, with the last pickup from FHNY at Sumter and Lady Streets at 1:30 a.m. the night of the event.
Alert Cab Discounts
Those who need a safe ride home can take an Alert Cab, in which the first $10 of each taxi cab fare is complimentary, thanks to sponsors KW Beverage and Budweiser. Guests can catch an Alert Cab on Lady St., between Main and Sumter Streets.
Eight downtown Columbia parking garages will be free as of 4:00 p.m. on Dec. 31 and will remain free until Jan. 2 so guests can leave their cars until Monday. Parking will be limited due to what is expected to be high demand. Guests who take a safe ride home via The COMET or Alert Cab can pick up their vehicles the following day. Guests who drive to FHNY are encouraged to note street closures and openings in downtown Columbia, S.C.
View all transportation options online: http://www.famouslyhotnewyear.com/getting-to-FHNY-transportation-options
Where to Dine, Drink, Stay and Shop
Famously Hot New Year encourages the public to support local businesses, restaurants and hotels that are offering special deals and VIP experiences/pre-parties for New Year’s Eve on Main Street and in other close-by hospitality districts. Guests can explore hospitality offerings online: http://www.columbiacvb.com/events/signature-events/new-years-eve/.
Where to Visit During the Street Party
- Enter through the two entry gates: Main at Lady and on Gervais at Assembly
- Hands-on public art projects by local artist Karl Larsen, sponsored by Crescent Construction, at the corner of Main and Gervais
- “Channel-Surfing Couch Potatoes” is a visual exhibition that encapsulates the seemingly endless bombardment of strange events that occurred in 2016 with colorful abstractions and a contemporary twist.
- “Famously Hot Wordplay” is an interactive public art space made with approximately 4,000 Scrabble letters, encouraging participants to spell out their dreams, aspirations and goals for 2017. The exhibition allows the public to play off one another’s words to promote interconnectivity through the power of words and positivity.
- “Comfort Zone” seated space to enjoy food and drink from vendors with street buskers and entertainers, at the corner of Main and Gervais Streets
- Concert stage at Gervais and Sumter Streets, 7:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Guests can map out their FHNY experience online: http://www.famouslyhotnewyear.com/fhny-event-map.
City of Columbia and Richland County hospitality tax provide close to 40% of funding, while more than 60% of funding is provided by corporate citizens. Our sponsors this year are as follows: Presenting Sponsor: Richland County; Platinum Sponsor: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (#LiveFearlessSC); Gold Sponsors: Aflac and WLTX; Silver Sponsors: KW Beverage/Budweiser, Pepsi of the Carolinas, Colonial Life, WARQ and WWDM; Bronze Sponsors: Hub at Columbia, Columbia Business Monthly, Free Times, Cinema Couture Films, WHXT, City Center Partnership/Main Street District and Marriott Columbia, who is also our recycling sponsor. Other supporting sponsors of the event are the South Carolina Education lottery, Palmetto Parent, Grace Outdoor, Image360 Columbia Central, Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism, EDENS, DuBose Web Group, Nelson Mullins, Columbia Fireflies Baseball, Coal Powered Filmworks, Crescent Construction and Capitol Center/Wilkow.
Details on Last Year’s Event
Now in its sixth year, Famously Hot New Year drew an estimated 35,000 people to downtown Columbia, S.C., last year, on Dec. 31, 2015. The fifth annual event featured a free concert by GRAMMY-winning recording artist Ms. Lauryn Hill, three S.C. homegrown bands and the most colossal NYE fireworks display in the two Carolinas. Revelers from 36 states and ten countries gathered on S.C.’s Main Street to celebrate a new year of strength and renewal after a tough year for the Palmetto State in 2015. 52% of attendees came from outside of Richland County, and 75% of attendees came from outside of the City of Columbia.
In 2015, economic impact on local hotels and restaurants increased by 20% to total more than $1.2 million, and a higher percentage of visitors attended from outside of the city, county and state than in previous years. Downtown hotel occupancy rose from 63%-98% in 2014 to 85%-100% in 2015, and hotels near areas such as Fort Jackson and Harbison saw an increase in occupancy from 26-60% in 2014 to 43%-100% in 2015. Hotel revenues are estimated at $578,574 for 2015, up from $486,500 in 2014; restaurant revenues are estimated at $635,199 for 2015, up from $551,048 in 2014. Economic impact on the hotel and restaurant industry is estimated at more than $1.2 million, an increase of 20% from the prior year’s $1 million.
About Famously Hot New Year
Famously Hot New Year is South Carolina’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration, with a free, full-length concert by a national headliner and the most colossal NYE fireworks display in the two Carolinas, adjacent to the historic S.C. State House in downtown Columbia, S.C. Since 2011, Famously Hot New Year has gathered diverse communities to enjoy the free concert and fireworks; regional food vendors; plentiful cash bars with beer, wine and bubbly; a festival atmosphere; free parking and more in the “New Southern Hot Spot.” In 2015, more than 35,000 guests attended from 36 states and ten countries. Plan your #FHNY at www.famouslyhotnewyear.com.
SOCIAL Facebook: Facebook.com/FamouslyHotNewYear
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