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Ring in 2014 in Fort Myers

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If you want to celebrate the new year, you can always sit home and watch the ball drop on live television feed from New York City. But why stay home when you can join thousands of your neighbors here in Fort Myers, and enjoy the balmy Southwest Florida weather. No parkas, no earmuffs, just frugal fun.

You can choose between two local new year’s parties, each with a distinctly different atmosphere. Fort Myers Beach is celebrating new years as well as its birthday in the Times Square area. According to the Orlando Sentinal, ”Visitors can watch the ball drop at Times Square without shivering during the Fort Myers Beach Birthday Party & New Year's Eve Celebration on December 31, 2013. The town's 17th annual birthday party takes place from 1 to 3 p.m. with free live music, brownies and cupcakes. More live music kicks in at 7 p.m. to start the New Year's celebration, which culminates with fireworks from the pier as well as the ball drop.” Not to be confused with the more famous Times Square in New York (which is planning its own ball drop), Fort Myers Beach’s Times Square is the area beside the beach at Lynn Hall Memorial Park.

If you prefer a more urban location, the Fort Myers River District (in downtown Fort Myers) is planning its own celebration, also including a ball drop and fireworks. You can “ring in the new year in downtown Fort Myers at the party with the widest variety of entertainment and dining choices in town. The 17th annual event starts at 8 p.m. with live musical acts on multiple stages, Florida’s longest conga line, a craft beer garden, and a ball-drop and fireworks at midnight. A Kids Zone will feature bounce houses, ball pits, an obstacle course, giant slides, a rock climbing wall, and balloon typhoon. Tickets to the Kids Zone are free for children 6 and under. Retail shops and restaurants will remain open during the evening. Admission to Downtown Countdown is free, but there are preferred viewing tickets and VIP tickets available.” One thing is certain, the River District knows how to throw a party.

Presented by the River District Alliance, the annual Fort Myers New Year's Eve Downtown Countdown helps tens of thousands of local revelers ring in the New Year in style. As midnight approaches, the main stage's ball drop counts down the waning seconds till the New Year and braces visitors for the keynote spectacle: a dazzling fireworks display over the New Caloosahatchee water basin. The bands and DJs play long after the display, entertaining crowds until as late as 2 a.m., at which point guests are encouraged to return home and set all their clocks one year forward.”

Whichever New Year’s Eve party you choose, you can’t go wrong. Either way, the price is right … free (well, a few dollars for parking). Come on out and celebrate the new year in paradise.

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