Revelers Ring in New Year With Parties, Square Dances, Predictions
Undated (AP) _ Revelers rang in 1989 in celebrations ranging from the neon-lit Times Square in New York City to small square-dance halls in Indiana and a mountaintop in Colorado, some with champagne glasses, others promoting abstinence.
Millions were to watch the traditional New Year’s countdown on television as the 600-pound wrought-iron ball descended a pole at Times Square. An estimated 400,000 were to see the 81-year-old tradition in person.
A 90-minute laser light show in the nation’s largest city also was part of the festivities.
Many celebrated without such glitz.
In Martinsville, Ind., three square dance clubs were to do-si-do until 1 a.m. in the 4-H Building at the Morgan County Fairgrounds. Betty Conover, president of the Flagtown Steppers, said about 200 people were expected. No alcohol was served.
″Square dancers do not drink and dance. You can’t drink and listen to the caller,″ Mrs. Conover said.
Members of the AdAmAn Club of Colorado Springs, Colo., chose a more solitary setting to toast 1989. They were to light a fireworks display from the top of Pikes Peak, elevation 14,100 feet.
The group’s 66th annual trek was scheduled to culminate at midnight with 60 giant starbursts exploding over the snowcapped peak, where temperatures dip below zero and winds to 80 mph have greeted previous holiday trip participants.
Music played a role in many celebrations. At the Grand Ballroom in the New Orleans Sheraton, the music of the Guy Lombardo Orchestra and swing were king.
″We’re still playing the music Guy Lombardo played,″ said Kenny Leighton, the leader of the Guy Lombardo Orchestra. ‴The sweetest music this side of heaven.′ Isn’t that corny? But it’s true.″
About 1,000 people had plans to dance 1988 away at a black-tie affair at Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
They were to step out to the theme of the Broadway musical ″Phantom of the Opera,″ said Mitchell Etess, a hotel spokesman.
A group of New Jersey senior citizens also had partying in mind.
Residents at the Jewish Geriatric Home in Cherry Hill planned a New Year’s party with the usual activities and even champagne.
But the party was scheduled to last only until lights-out at 8 p.m., said spokesman Michael Bucci.
An estimated 500,000 people jammed downtown Miami for the 55th Annual King Orange Jamboree Parade to watch flashy floats, bands, 20 circus elephants and television stars such as George Wendt of ″Cheers″ and Susan Ruttan and Raymond Burr of ″LA Law.″
In Boston, about a half million people wandered the city’s streets and public gardens as part of 13th annual First Night celebration, which has inspired similar festivals in 23 cities from Denver to Charlotte, N.C. More than 1,000 artists performed across Boston.
Many appreciated the event’s no-drinking policy.
″We used to go out and misbehave like everyone else on New Year’s, but now we come to this as a family,″ said Joyce LaVecchia. ″I mean, why not? And there’s no headache in the morning.″
Drinking and driving, again, was an issue across the country.
About 1,000 state troopers in New Jersey were on duty to encourage motorists to stay at the 55 mph speed limit and reduce the number of traffic accidents.
Anheuser Busch Co. in Newark, N.J., offered free New Year’s Eve taxi rides home for about 3,000 drinking revelers in six northern New Jersey counties, officials said.
One group also moved to stop a dangerous New Year’s Eve tradition in Detroit.
Save Our Sons and Daughters, which is made up of relatives and friends of slain Detroit children, asked residents to end the city’s New Year’s Eve skyward shooting spree.
For several years, at midnight, some residents have shot guns in the air.
″It’s an insane practice, a part of the mores of this community that needs to stop,″ said Fred Williams, a spokesman for the Detroit Police Department.
And in Philadelphia, one group eschewed making resolutions. Instead, they issued predictions - for last year.
The Procastinators Club of America released its 1988 New Year predictions Saturday, as usual when the year is ending.
″Somehow,″ said club president Les Waas added, ″we’ve never been wrong.″
The club’s No. 1 prediction was that George Bush would be elected president and then shoot quail over the Christmas holidays while vacationing in Texas.
″That was a real shot in the dark but it was bull’s eye,″ Waas said.