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Celebrate holiday safely, officials urge
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Life: Check out the latest holiday drinks 

New Year’s Eve celebrations

Chicken Drop New Year’s Eve Bash

What: Dance music, hors d’oeuvres, balloon drop, breakfast buffet and champagne toast. Cash bar. Reservations recommended. 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Ticket prices: $30 per person, $220 for a table of eight. Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. NE, Gainesville.

More info: 770-531-2394;

AJ’s Fun Food & Friends

What: Stealing 3rd will be performing at 9:30 p.m. and the cover charge will benefit Jim Eller. Champagne toast at midnight.

Where: AJ’s Fun Food & Friends, 322 Spring St., Gainesville

More info: 770-287-3030

American Legion

What: Music and dancing from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. For couples or singles. Business or dressy attire. $15 cover charge.

Where: American Legion, 2343 Riverside Drive, Gainesville.

More info:

The Dam Bar New Year’s Eve Party

What: The Mike Veal Band will perform and at midnight there will be a champagne toast. $10 cover after 9 p.m. which includes champagne, party favors and hors d’oeuvres.

Where: The Dam Bar, 3280 McEver Road, Buford

More info: 678-546-7535

Grapes and Hops Bar & Bistro

What: Andre Bennett & Company will perform. Seatings start at 5 p.m. and are $65 per person.

Where: Grapes and Hops Bar & Bistro, 4856 Hog Mountain Road, Flowery Branch

More info: 770-965-9145

New Year’s Eve at Scott’s

What: A 6:30 p.m. dinner is $65 per person; entertainment by jazz guitarist Walter Biel. The 8:30 p.m. seating is $75 per person and features Eddie Daniel and The Ringerz.

Where: Scott’s on the Square, 110 Main St., Gainesville

More info: 770-536-1111 or

Wild Wing Cafe

What: Evening entertainment by 7 By Seven.

Where: Wild Wing Cafe, 311 Jesse Jewell Parkway, Gainesville

More info: 770-536-9177

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids

What: Activities for kids featuring magic with Jeff McClure. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. $8 per person for admission.

Where: Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville.

More info: 770-536-1900

An Evening at Montaluce

What: A night of dinner, dancing and a Prosecco toast at midnight. A multicourse dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Black tie optional and reservations are requested. $85 per person includes one complimentary glass of Prosecco; $100 per person includes one complimentary bottle of wine per couple

Where: Montaluce Estates and Vineyard, 501 Hightower Church Road, Dahlonega

More info: 706- 867-4060 or

Lawrenceville Rings

What: Live bands, magic shows, face painting, rock climbing wall and fireworks. 7 p.m. to midnight

Where: Downtown Lawrenceville.

More info: 678-226-2639

Peach Drop New Year’s Eve Celebration

What: Free event featuring inflatable jumping toys, basketball throw, face painting and balloon art during the day. Singer Julianne Hough, fireworks and Peach Drop at midnight.

When: Noon to 4 a.m.

Where: Underground Atlanta, 50 Upper Alabama St. SW, Atlanta.

More info: 404-523-2311

From driving to fireworks, state officials are urging people to celebrate safely this New Year’s holiday.

The Georgia State Patrol estimates 20 people will die in traffic crashes during the 102-hour holiday period, which starts at 6 p.m. today and ends at midnight Sunday.

In addition to the predicted 20 deaths, the state patrol estimates there will be 1,250 injuries in 3,108 crashes during the holiday period. During the 102-hour Christmas holiday period, 24 people died in 3,325 traffic crashes, while there were 868 injuries reported.

Col. Bill Hitchens, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said speed, not wearing seat belts and people driving while impaired continue to be the primary contributing factors in fatal holiday wrecks.

And law enforcement will be out in force looking for those impaired drivers, as the holiday weekend will bring to a close the national campaign targeted at stopping drunk drivers. Troopers will conduct sobriety checkpoints across the state.

"While only two of the traffic deaths last year were alcohol related, New Year’s is traditionally associated with festivities that often involve the consumption of alcoholic beverages and tragically that leads to an increase in the number of impaired drivers on our roads," he said. "Remember to plan ahead for your holiday parties and plan nonalcoholic beverages for
designated drivers. Everyone can benefit by remembering to not let friends drive drunk."

Hitchens reminded party hosts to arrange alternate transportation for impaired guests by calling a taxi, friend or family member to get guests home safely.

Fireworks also often are part of New Year’s Eve festivities, and authorities warn that most types of fireworks are illegal in Georgia and all should be used with caution.

Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine urges parents to protect their children and themselves from the dangers of fireworks. Remind children that if they find unexploded fireworks, do not touch them, and immediately contact the local fire department.

The sale and individual use of any type of firework, except certain kinds of sparklers, is illegal in Georgia. The penalties are a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to one year in jail. Professional fireworks displays are permitted, provided they are licensed through the local judge of probate court.

Oxendine said sparklers are legal in Georgia, but should be used properly and with adult supervision.

"In 2006, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated approximately 9,200 people for fireworks-related injuries. Approximately one-third of these injuries occurred among children age 14 years and younger," he said. "It’s traditional to celebrate the coming of the New Year with fireworks. I urge our citizens to enjoy them safely by watching a professional display as they mark the arrival of 2009."