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New Year's activities abound in coming days

By Curt Yeomans and Johnny Jackson

cyeomans@news-daily.com

There are several free opportunities, in the coming days, for residents of Clayton and Henry counties to get ready to ring in the new year.

Those opportunities include church services, craft-making sessions at two Clayton County libraries and a Morrow restaurant, and a party which culminates in a six-foot chicken nugget being dropped into a pool of sauce as 2010 arrives.

"By the second week of winter vacation [for schools], everyone in the family is ready to get out of the house and do something fun," said Janice Arcuria, the assistant director for youth services for the Clayton County Public Library System.

Truett's Grill of Morrow will unofficially kick off the local New Year's week events with a family craft night on Monday, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the restaurant, which is located at 2042 Mt. Zion Road, in Morrow. The craft-making event, which is geared toward children, will result in the creation of hats the youths can wear on New Year's Eve, according to Truett's Grill of Morrow Manager Peter Gajda.

"We do a family night, usually with a craft-making activity, every Monday," Gajda said. "Next week, it will have a New Year's theme since New Year's Eve is coming up."

Gajda said that any family who comes to the craft night can get a free kid's nugget meal with the purchase of a full platter, or a combo meal. "So, basically, anyone who brings their children to participate in the craft night, their kid can eat for free," he said.

For more information on the craft night, call the Truett's Grill of Morrow at (770) 210-0500.

Two branches of the Clayton County Public Library System will hold News Year's craft-making events as well. On Tuesday, from 2 to 3 p.m., the library system's headquarters branch, which is located at 865 Battle Creek Road, in Jonesboro, will host "Getting Ready for New Year's Eve" for local children.

The event will give children an opportunity to make New Year's Eve hats and noise makers to use to ring in the new year, said library Youth Services Assistant Breana Florio, the event organizer. She said the children will also play games, such as "New Year's Eve Scramble," and "Predict the Future."

Similarly, the Jonesboro branch, which is located at 124 Smith Street, will also host a News Year's craft-making session on Thursday, from 3 to 4 p.m. Participants in this craft-making session will only make New Year's Eve hats to wear later in the day.

"Adults have their rituals and fun on New Year's Eve, while the kids get to stay up late, and then they have to go to bed," Florio said. "So, we just try to have something for the kids to do that will allow them to be a part of the celebration, just so they don't feel left out."

Advanced registration will be required to participate in the craft-making sessions at either library. To sign up, call the headquarters branch at (770) 473-3850, or the Jonesboro branch at (770) 478-7120.

Three local churches have announced invitations for the public to attend New Year's services that will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, several preachers are scheduled to address church-goers during a New Year's Eve service which will be held at 7 p.m., at Heritage Baptist Church, located at 1843 Peeksville Road in Locust Grove. Finger foods will be available after the service. For more details, call the church at (770) 320-7771.

Two churches will have services on Thursday, at 9 p.m., as church-goers prepare to welcome the arrival of 2010. Several choirs are scheduled to perform at Dixon Grove Baptist Church, located at 7690 Fielder Road, Jonesboro, on Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. Among those scheduled to perform is Pastor James E. Harris, who is expected to perform Sam Cooke's "A Change is Going to Come." For more details, call (770) 471-1021 or (770) 378-0182.

McDonough-based Tabernacle of Praise Church International, which is located at 96 S. Zack Hinton Parkway, will hold its own New Year's Eve service at the same time. For more details on this service, call the church at (678) 272-7838.

The culmination of the local New Year's-related events will take place at the Truett's Grill of McDonough, which will hold its Sixth Annual New Year's Eve Nugget Drop, beginning at 7 p.m., on New Year's Eve at the restaurant, which is located at 1785 Jonesboro Road in McDonough.

At midnight, a six-foot-tall Chick-fil-A chicken nugget, made of plaster, will be lowered into a vat of Karo syrup, which will be dyed the color of honey mustard dipping sauce. Free parking will be available in the parking lot of the Sam's Club, located nearby, at 1765 Jonesboro Road.

"We are excited to welcome families from all over the metro-Atlanta area to join us to ring in 2010 with great entertainment and delicious food," said Billy Thompson, manager of the Truett's Grill in McDonough.

The event will include fireworks, food samples, face painting, live entertainment, and a car giveaway sponsored by Toyota of McDonough, according to Andrea Foster, marketing representative for Truett's Grill of McDonough.

Foster said the Nugget Drop, which began in 2004, has become a tradition for many families in the Southern Crescent. Last year's Nugget Drop drew more than 5,000 people. She said she expects about as many people to attend this year's event.

"It's a big, family-friendly event on our side of town," Foster said.