Ringing in the New Year in Aiken

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Monday, December 31, 2018

AIKEN, S.C. (WRWD/WAGT) -- People in Aiken are getting ready to see the ball drop tonight.

Folks have been dancing for hours and it doesn't look like they're quitting anytime soon. Lots of people News 12 talked to say Aiken's small-town roots make it a unique place to celebrate but they also think Aiken's growth has helped put it on the map.

“Happy new year!!" scream the crowd.

All across Aiken, crowds gather to welcome 2019.

"We've been sold out for weeks."

"We're gonna do about 250 people and I think 275 are gonna show up."

For some, a night on the town in Aiken is a unique experience.

"So Augusta has gotten away from the small town feel like Aiken has which I think is what brings more people to Aiken," said Mickie Defliece.

Mickie Defliece oversees the annual 3 course New Year’s Eve dinner at the Willcox where every single room is booked.

She says keeping that charm, even as Aiken has grown has been the key.

"Mainly our hotel guests are the ones who are going to be hanging out with us around the bar later," said Defliece.

"This is something that gives us an opportunity to have an adult good time without having the adult deadline of three to four o’clock in the morning," said John Stanley.

John Stanley owns the Red Pepper, which provides guests with live music, cocktails, and even a ball drop.

"A tradition we started a couple years ago that people really liked," said Stanley.

He says New Year’s in Aiken mirrors the world with a little slice of home. There's still nowhere else he'd rather be.

"It's kind of a spring forward and new beginnings. Whenever you can do that and celebrate with your friends and family, especially with no drama, it's a great way to get everyone on the same page for the New Year."