By Curt Yeomans
Local residents will have one more option to ring in 2010 on Thursday, this time with fireworks, when City of Morrow officials host a New Year's celebration at the newly opened Olde Towne Morrow complex.
Jessica Kilby, the city's Main Street coordinator, said Morrow tourism officials began planning "Olde Towne Count Down" only two weeks ago, to give locals an option to attend an outdoor New Year's celebration, without having to leave the area.
Kilby said the event will feature a local band and a disc jockey, and two restaurants at Olde Towne Morrow will be open until after midnight. The new year will be welcomed with a large "2010" that will light up, and a fireworks show that will commence when the clock strikes midnight, she said.
Kilby said the event will last from 5 p.m., until "after midnight," at Olde Towne Morrow, which is located behind Southlake Mall.
"Even though some people may want to go to Atlanta for the [Peach Drop] for the celebration up there, if you can go someplace locally to attend a New Year's Eve celebration, that might be the safer way to go," Kilby said. "By having this event at Olde Towne Morrow, people can ring in the new year close to home, and not necessarily have to go to Atlanta."
The "Olde Towne Count Down" is the second celebration to be held at Morrow's new shopping, dining and entertainment district within the period of a month. A Christmas event, which took place at the entertainment district earlier this month, drew a crowd of 6,500 people, Kilby said.
However, more planning went into that event, she said. She said she expects an attendance of at least 1,000 people for the New Year's Eve celebration, because that is how many people attended a St. Patrick's Day event held at Olde Towne Morrow on similarly short notice.
Kilby said Olde Towne Morrow has space to "easily" fit up to 10,000 people. "We really want this to be a true entertainment district," she said. "We decided about two weeks ago that we wanted to do this. After the response to the Christmas event, we felt we probably should do something for New Year's as well. We just went straight forward after that and quickly put this thing together."
From 5 p.m., to 8 p.m., a band will perform for attendees. Kilby said the band has not yet been chosen, but she has narrowed it down to a few Clayton County-based bands. After the band finishes playing, a D.J. will take over until midnight.
"At our Christmas event, we noticed that even though it was raining, people still got out in the rain and danced while the D.J. played music, so we decided that was definitely something we wanted to incorporate into this event," Kilby said.
Olde Towne Morrow's two restaurants, Maguire's Family and Friends Irish Pub, and seafood restaurant, City Harbor, will be open throughout the "Olde Towne Count Down," so people will be able to grab a bite to eat, Kilby said. She said fire pits may also be available, on which people can roast marshmallows.
The "2010" sign that will light up as the fireworks go off at midnight will be mounted on one of the renovated homes at Olde Towne Morrow, the city's main street coordinator said. For more information about the event, call Kilby at (678) 794-9122.
The locations of other local New Year's Eve events include:
* Heritage Baptist Church, located at 1843 Peeksville Road, in Locust Grove, which will host several preachers, who are scheduled to address church-goers during a New Year's-related service tonight at 7 p.m. For more details, call the church at (770) 320-7771.
* The Jonesboro branch of the Clayton County Public Library system, located at 124 Smith Street, which will host a New Year's craft-making session on Thursday, from 3 p.m., to 4 p.m. Advanced registration is required. Call the library branch at (770) 478-7120.
* Dixon Grove Baptist Church, located at 7690 Fielder Road, Jonesboro, which will host several choirs that are scheduled to perform on Thursday at 9 p.m. For more details, call (770) 471-1021 or (770) 378-0182.
* Tabernacle of Praise Church International, located at 96 S. Zack Hinton Parkway, in McDonough, which will hold its own New Year's Eve service on Thursday, at 9 p.m. For more details on this service, call the church at (678) 272-7838.
* Truett's Grill of McDonough, located at 1785 Jonesboro Road, which will hold its sixth annual New Year's Eve Nugget Drop, from 7 p.m., until midnight. Call the restaurant at (678) 432-2221, for more information.