MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Happy New Year's Eve! You've probably thought about how you're going to ring in 2015; if you haven't, there's plenty to do in Myrtle Beach.
No need to head to cold New York to watch the ball drop, you can do it right here, for a Southern Times Square in Market Common. Although, be warned, it will still be chilly in Myrtle Beach.
The celebration will start at 7:00 p.m. and go until midnight strikes. This is the second year for the event. Admission is free and welcomes the entire family. There will be face painters, living statues and entertainment for the kids. There will also be two stages, with two bands, along with food vendors and an outdoor beer garden. And there will be big outdoor screens set up so you can watch the traditional countdown from New York City. Plus, the Market Common will have its own countdown and ball drop. The grand finale, different from last year, will be fireworks.
Safety is extremely important, especially on a night that is surrounded by drinking. The Market Common will not allow you to bring large bags and backpacks to a Southern Times Square. You will also be restricted from parking in the street where the activities will take place. "We're working with the police department and the fire department to make sure this event is safe and runs seamlessly," says Heather Gray, the general manager of the Market Common.
Last year, the expectation was around 1,000 people would show up. But more than 5,000 people rang in the New Year at the Market Common. This year, the expectation is even higher.
The assistant general manager at King Street Grille says that last New Year's Eve was the best New Year the restaurant has ever seen since opening. It holds about 200 guests and it expects to be completely full. It even got outdoor heaters for spillover guests on the patio.
Gordon Biersch is also preparing for a huge crowd. The manager says that last year was one of the best and busiest nights for the restaurant, but it was also hectic. This year, they are adding more staff and also a beer tent outside the restaurant, for people who maybe can't get in.
The management team at Travinia says that last year it logged about $19,000 for the night. They're expecting to top that this year, so they're bringing in their entire staff.
All restaurants in the Market Common agree, events like this are a huge draw for business. "It's not just your normal New Year's Eve with partying and going out," says Zeke Springs, the assistant general manager of King Street Grille. "It's going to be more family oriented, people will bring their families and walk around. People come in for this kind of event and they want to come back because they hear about things we're doing for the rest of the week. So it's awesome."
Gordon Biersch and Travinia, as of Tuesday, are all booked until about 10 or 11:00 p.m. Wednesday. At last check, King Street is still booking. All three said they plan to stay open late, to cater to the crowds. King Street Grille expects the busiest time to be between 10:00 p.m. and when the ball drops at midnight. The Market Common general manager says some stores plan to extend their hours to midnight, as well. So, you can hit the stores while you're waiting to ring in the New Year.
The Southern Times Square event brings people to the Market Common who maybe wouldn't come regularly, which may impact a return visit. The general manager for the Market Common says she would like to see this event return, but it depends on how well it's accepted and attended tonight.