8-10K expected to ring in the New Year in downtown Montgomery

8-10K expected to ring in the New Year in downtown Montgomery

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Around 8,000 to 10,000 people are expected to ring in the New Year in downtown Montgomery but putting together the bands, vendors and production doesn't happen overnight.

As soon as 2016's confetti was cleaned up almost a year ago, city groups started planning for this weekend's celebration.

Last year's College Football Playoff schedule impacted attendance by 50 percent but officials are bracing for an uptick in crowds Saturday.

While celebrating the new year may be as easy as 1,2,3 - planning the festivities involve an entirely different countdown.

"I don't think a lot of people are aware of how many departments it takes to put this event together," said Denise Welch, Event Manager with the City of Montgomery.

Everyone from police, fire, traffic, sanitation and parking are involved to ensure downtown's street party goes off without a hitch.

"Instead of us dropping something this year, we're going to do what we refer to as a shooting star. So we're going to raise it this year along with confetti and our incredible fireworks that we do for New Year's Eve," said Welch.

Speaking of fireworks, fire officials say the recent rainfall is helping the show go on.

"Well thankfully, with the rain that has come in, the burn ban has been lifted so we're kind of back to business as usual. However, within the city limits of Montgomery, it's still illegal to light off fireworks. The shows that are going to be going on, we ask that people just leave it to the professionals," said Lt. Jason Cupps with Montgomery Fire and Rescue.

Folks are flocking to a prime location to take it all in and celebrate.

"We're right at full capacity and obviously, we certainly enjoy the environment," said Perry Grice with the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa.

City officials say downtown hotels and restaurants are booked solid; combined with business from The Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, 2016 is ending on a high note.

"I think there's a lot of cities, second, third tier cities that would love to have the business that we have in December in Montgomery; we're very fortunate," said Grice.

Entertainment kicks off at 9 p.m. on Saturday and Welch wants to remind folks to utilize the parking decks around downtown, there will even be a shuttle transporting people to and from the Biscuits' parking lot.

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