This cultural celebration offers an all-ages, alcohol-free way to ring in the new year.
Where: Belk Action Center at 330 S. Tryon St., The Green, Levine Avenue of the Arts, NASCAR Hall of Fame, WBT Holidays on Ice rink and Wells Fargo Atrium. Countdowns will be on the Duke Energy Main Stage at Levine Avenue of the Arts.
First Night Kids runs noon-5 p.m. with a 2013 Countdown at 4:50 p.m. Activities include circus performers, puppets and more. First Night Charlotte runs 7-11 p.m. with aerialists, musicians and a comedy troupe. Countdown to Midnight with band Simply Irresistible will be 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Wristbands are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-12 (with banded adult), and admission is free for kids 4 and younger. Wristbands are available at several onsite locations from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.
Charlotte Area Transit System officials said extra Lynx Blue Line trains will run through 1:30 a.m. Buses will run on their weekday schedule, with select routes leaving the Charlotte Transportation Center at 1:30 a.m. Moira Quinn of Charlotte Center City Partners recommends mass transit but said many lots and decks uptown will offer flat-rate parking ranging from $5 to $10.
Levine Avenue of the Arts between Church and Tryon streets will be closed through 9 a.m. Jan. 1. Tryon Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stonewall Street will be closed through 3 a.m. Jan. 1.
Tips for staying safe:
• Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police will put more officers on the streets on New Years Eve.
Officers are typically centered uptown, but expect more in other divisions as well. Police typically step up efforts to combat drunken driving.
During New Years Eve festivities last year, 31 people were arrested during events in the center city. The year before that, 50 were arrested. Most people were arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing.
• If someone has too much to drink, first responders encourage you to know the signs of alcohol poisoning: Mental confusion, stupor, difficulty rousing the person, vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing and hypothermia. Dont try to gauge a persons level of drunkenness before calling 911. You can also call 1-800-222-1222. If you call, be ready to tell the dispatcher or hospital the amount and kind of alcohol the person ingested.
• In an emergency, paramedics say, be sure to gather key information about your location to pass on to dispatchers.
A lot of times, cellphone signals arent as reliable as people think they are, says Katie Rutland, a spokeswoman for Medic, the countys paramedic service. If youre in the middle of uptown and it pings at the EpiCentre, it could be anywhere in the EpiCentre. If theyre in the parking deck, we need to know which level theyre on.
• Its illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits at the stroke of midnight (or any other time).
• Lisa King, a supervisor with Yellow Cab, recommends programming a taxi companys number into your phone now, just in case.
New Years Eve is the single most lucrative night for taxi drivers, wholl be circling hot spots all night. Were going to be having a lot of drivers out, she said. Ive heard of people standing in the road, waving money, saying Ill pay you whatever you want. You dont have to go that far.
In Charlotte, itll cost you $2.50 for the cab driver to pick you up, and $2.50 for each mile you go. A 20 percent tip is customary. Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
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