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Ring in the New Year with area parties, fireworks

NATCHEZ — New Year’s Eve revelers on both sides of the Mississippi River are in for a treat Saturday night.

The Vidalia and Natchez convention centers will host glamorous gatherings highlighted by live music and champagne, as Kingston United Methodist Church welcomes community members for fireworks and fellowship.

Vidalia New Year’s Bash

The Vidalia Conference and Convention Center will host a New Year’s Bash Saturday night. Doors open at 6 p.m. and live music begins at 7 p.m., featuring Easy Eddie and the Party Rockers, Cuz ‘n Company and Slow Ride.

Sheri Rabb, director of marketing and public relations for the convention center, said the plan is to have music that appeals to adults of all ages.

“We have old time rock and roll, today’s rock and roll and country,” Rabb said. “It’s a little bit of everything. That’s why we have three different bands — to appeal to everyone, because we have so many different age groups.”

Rabb said bands will play for an hour a piece, and will rotate every 20 minutes starting at 10 p.m.

“We wanted to shake it up a bit and keep it lively” Rabb said.

No New Year’s Eve would be complete without a cash bar, or at least a glass of champagne at midnight — which will be free. Rabb said Hammers will provide the cash bar, serving frozen and mixed drinks, wine and beer. Light foods will be available for sale as well.

Rabb said ticket sales have already broken last year’s number, and more tickets are still available. Tickets are $25 each for general admission. Bulk tickets for tables are also available. Only adults ages 21 and up are invited.

Tickets can be purchased at the door, or by visiting the convention center through Friday. Call 318-336-9934 for more information.

New Year’s in Natchez

The House Rockers from Meridian will serenade Natchezians as they party the night away at the Natchez Convention Center beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Walter Tipton, convention center director, said the band will play a full range of music for guests of all tastes.

“We’re celebrating the end of 2011, and looking forward to 2012,” Tipton said. “We’ll have a great celebration at the convention center.”

Tipton added that since two hotels — the Natchez Grand and Eola — are within walking distance, there is no need to drive home if feeling the effects of too much champagne.

Tickets are $35 in advance, sold at the Natchez Grand Hotel, or $40 at the door. Tickets include two drinks, hors d’oeuvres, party favors and a midnight champagne toast.

Call the hotel at 601-446-9994 for more information.

Richard Thompson fireworks event

Kingston United Methodist Church is hosting its fireworks event at 6 p.m. New Year’s Eve, this year in memory of church member Richard Thompson, who died in November.

“He loved fireworks,” said the Rev. Len McRaney, pastor of Kingston UMC and Lovely Lane UMC. “We are doing it this year as a memorial event to honor his memory and family.”

McRaney said families are welcome to attend this event, which is free — just bring lawn chairs and blankets.

“You always have to have an alternative for those who might want to make it a family event that is fun and festive,” McRaney said. “For a small, community affair, it’s a really big deal.”

McRaney said fireworks will be followed by fellowship in the church. Refreshments will be served.

Families are welcome to bring their own fireworks to share, which will be used under careful supervision.

The church is located at 65 Morgantown Road.