New Year's Eve events in East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) If you're ready to ring in the New Year, there are plenty of events for you to choose from.

From downtown Knoxville to the Smokies, organizers say the events promise to be bigger and better than ever this year.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt has more information to help you plan for the big night,.

There will be parties big and small.

And the best news, some of the biggest bashes are free.

In Gatlinburg the New Year begins with fireworks and the big ball dropping from the Space Needle.

There's a big crowd too.

At least sixty thousand people showed up last year.

"It's absolutely the biggest day of the year for us, by far."

"Andrew MacKinnon owns the Dogwood Plaza that sits in the shadow of the Space Needle. His restaurant, Linebarger's Seafood, will be open late and packed with people. It won't be the only one."

"Everybody's going to stay open because it's a big night and the streets will be full," MacKinnon says.

"It's our job to see that everybody takes home with them some good memories," says Gatlinburg Special Events Coordinator George Hawkins.

Making good memories means having fun without ruining the night for others. In Gatlinburg that means those who are drinking have to stay inside a business to do it.

"It's family friendly. We do serve liquor by the drink, but we don't allow it on the streets," says Hawkins.

Pratt:"While the streets are full in Gatlinburg, Knoxville's Market Square will be also be a big celebration destination.

It's already a great place to skate. Bill Rice and his family were enjoying family time on the ice and they are happy to hear about the New Year's Eve ball drop and fireworks.

"I think it's continuing what's been going on here all year. Through summer we were down here having fun, and the skating rink's been great. I come down here from my office. And we're excited about what they're going to do New Year's and everything else. We think it's great."

Events:

You can ring in the New Year on Market Square, beginning at 7 p.m. The free event includes fireworks and live entertainment.

The 20th Annual Balldrop in Gatlinburg begins at 10 p.m. With such a huge crowd expected for the free event, you'd better plan on getting downtown earlier.


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