Central Valley Counts down the final hours of 2009

December 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Party promoters in Fresno are hoping a change in a city law convinces more people to spend the last day and night of the year, downtown.A baseball park may seem like an unlikely place for a New Years Eve bash, but a party at the 600 Club overlooking the field at Chukchansi Park in downtown Fresno is exactly how many will ring in the new year.

Last-minute party preparations are underway all over town. At the Grand Ballroom in downtown Fresno, painters are touching up inside, and further north, the Tower Theater is covered with ads for the New Year's Eve showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Hero's restaurant owner Patrick McLenithan says everyone is trying to draw big crowds. "A lot of businesses are doing parking validation so parking will not be an excuse."

More than 25 New Years Eve events planned throughout the city, many of them in downtown Fresno. Many promoters say there are more options this year because for the first time parties can keep going until the early morning hours.

In October the city passed a new bar and club ordinance that allows downtown businesses to stay open until 4am.

"They won't be selling alcohol until 4. They have to stop at the regular time," said Capt. Greg Garner with the Fresno Police Department.

Drink sales must end at 2am; that's the same time bars on the north end of Fresno will close.

Police say a lot of officers will be on the road watching for drunk drivers and no matter how late you party, make plans to get home safely before heading out.

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