New Format for Exeter's New Year's Eve Celebration

By Reggie Ellis

What better way to celebrate the past year than to mix a piece of several calendar events and roll them into one final send off as we turn the page to a new year.

The Exeter Chamber of Commerce is hosting this year's New Year's celebration and has planned a parade with a pinch of April Fools, activities with an ounce of Halloween and a pound of Fourth of July patriotism and community pride in a laser light show.

The evening begins at 8 p.m. with the Doo-Dah Parade, which features floats, group and individual entries that are tongue-in-cheek or wacky. The parade will begin at C and Pine Streets and head west on Pine to F Street. The chamber is still asking for entries for the parade. To enter the parade, call the Exeter chamber at 592-2919.

The parade was started by the Exeter Lions Club in 2001 as part of their community New Year's celebration. The service club coordinated the New Year's celebration from 2001-2004. The chamber's decision to take over and change the New Year's Eve celebration happened after the Exeter Lions Club decided they would no longer organize the event because of increasing restrictions and fees on public firework displays. This will be the first year the chamber has coordinated the New Year's activities since the millennium celebration in 1999. Following the parade, several downtown businesses will be open for business from 9-10:30 p.m.

The Exeter Parks and Recreation Department is planning several fun activities for all ages. Sign-ups for all the events will begin following the parade. King Kong Ping Pong was described by assistant director Linda Wachter as ping pong with tennis rackets. Scary Simon Says is just a variation on the popular playground game and Extreme Volleyball will use a regulation net, but teams will use a football or soccer ball instead of a football.

Then there is the Fear Factor Pie Eating competition, where contestants will be asked to dig into mystery pies covered in whip cream. Named for the popular television show where contestants subject themselves to eating insects and worse for money, Wachter said each pie will have a different, unusual mixture hidden underneath the whip cream. For example, she said, one pie might have a mixture of ketsup and olives.

&#8220You won't know what you have until you taste it,” Wachter said.

But the highlight of the evening will be a laser light show at midnight. The show is being provided by DayStar, an event planning company. The show will last about 15-20 minutes and will begin at midnight, instead of the 9 p.m. [midnight Eastern Standard Time] start time the Lions had for their New York New Year's fireworks displays.

The chamber is still seeking sponsorships for the laser light show. Sponsorships are $500 and include a listing during the credits of the show. The light show costs about $8,000. Current sponsors include Clearwire, R & N Market, Tricia Kirksey Real Estate, Hometown Emporium, Best Western Inn and 7XB Cattle Co.

The chamber is also inviting community service groups and organizations to open booths to raise money for their organizations. Several groups have already reserved a booth, but the chamber is looking for more. Clean up and parade volunteers are also needed. For more information call the chamber at 592-2919.

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