COLUMBIA, S.C., Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- What do you call a world-class New Year's Eve event so successful that restaurants actually run out of food? If you're Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, whose inaugural Famously Hot New Year (FHNY) celebration earned national attention, drawing more than 20,000 people from 23 states to his city's resurgent Main Street, you call it a good start.
Then you set your sights on making FHNY one of America's top New Year's Eve destinations.
Featuring a free concert from top talent including the Grammy Award–winning band The Wallflowers, R&B chart-toppers Atlantic Starr, and hip-hop legend DJ Biz Markie as well as local standouts Terence Young and The Reggie Sullivan Band, fireworks, champagne, a midnight countdown and more, this year's celebration takes a major step in that direction, creating a unique atmosphere that gives Times Square a dose of southern hospitality.
But, for Mayor Benjamin and event organizers, FHNY isn't just about celebrating the calendar's turning. It's part of a new spirit of optimism that's taken hold in Columbia, on display for all to see—especially on Main Street.
From local merchants opening shop to national firms expanding, Main Street has seen one major announcement after another. In August, the city completed a landmark facade rehabilitation program that leveraged $425,000 in federal CDBG funds to create over $6 million in private downtown investment. The Nickelodeon Theatre, South Carolina's only non-profit art house theater, celebrated its move into Main Street's historic Fox Theater in October.
These milestones, together with the city's new focus on growing its Creative Economy, are building a critical mass of excitement and economic activity. Add FHNY and its ability to energize local residents and attract out-of-towners who aren't expecting to find such a charming, vibrant business district in the heart of South Carolina's capital, and you have the potential to reshape Columbia as a major cultural and economic leader for the Southeast, if not the nation.
"Something very special is happening in our city," says Mayor Benjamin. "We invite everyone to come and take part. Leave the snow and sweaters behind and join us for a Famously Hot New Year here in Columbia, South Carolina."
Contact: Clare Morris
SOURCE Famously Hot New Year