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Ringing in 2012 Gulf Coast Style

By Kate Peterson

Each year you are excited about ringing in the New Year, but are unsure about what to do. You may still have family in town, sitting around eating cookies, or are visiting the area and have to get out of the house. Well, the IN has highlighted some area events that you’ll enjoy with family and friends. All the events are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve.

PENSACOLA PELICAN DROP

The Pensacola area hosts a unique event, a lively street party, brilliant fireworks and a half-ton, illuminated pelican that drops 100 feet at midnight. Family-friendly fun abounds New Year’s Eve at the Pensacola Pelican Drop, featuring a full slate of entertainment from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. in downtown Pensacola. Live bands perform on three stages. A performance by S-Curve recording artist, Andy Grammer tops the night. Grammer’s single, “Keep Your Head Up,” is making its way up the charts. Grammer was born in Los Angeles and raised in New York City. He was once a busser, working for tips on a Santa Monica promenade. Now, he is a nationally known recording artist voted by Billboard magazine as a 2011 Artist to Watch. He recently won an MTV video award for most innovative video award, played festivals all over the country, toured with Colbie Caillat and Natasha Bedingfield. Additionally, Keenan Cahill has even lip-synced his songs on YouTube.

IN caught up with Grammer recently and talked with him about his music.

Influenced by his mother and father, Grammer knew that he wanted to be an entertainer early on in his life. His father was Grammy-award winning children’s performer, Red Grammer. “I learned a lot from both of my parents,” said Grammer. “Musically, I was influenced by artists in all areas, hip-hop – I love Common – and other genres too.” About his chart-hitting single, “Keep Your Head Up,” Grammer says, “I wrote that song after a long day of street performing. It takes a lot to set up and get yourself out there. You can either cry or write a song, I chose the latter. Rainn Wilson was so gracious to agree to appear in the video.” He writes all of his own songs and has co-written some for others. “I judge the popularity of a song by what I like to call the street test. If it is popular on the street,” Grammer said. He wrote his self-titled album, and some heavy hitters produced it. “I have been writing since I was young,” he said. “So many songs to choose from, it was hard to narrow it down.” Grammer is currently working on a new album due out in 2012.

Joining Grammer will be other great acts such as: Alvarado Road Show, Musical Fantasy and MoJiles.

Children enjoy their own countdown, pelican drop and bubble stomp at 8 p.m. and, dozens of downtown shops, art galleries, local restaurants and other vendors will be open for business. The evening ends as the giant pelican drops at midnight followed by a fireworks show in the skies above downtown.

WHEN: 5 p.m.-12 a.m.
WHERE: Downtown Pensacola
DETAILS: pensacolapelicandrop.com

BUBBLES & BOWLS
From 5 p.m.-10 p.m., join Distinctive Kitchens for their 3rd annual Bubbles & Bowls. 
Complimentary bowls of black eyed Peas and rice will be given for good luck. Stop by while you are attending the Pelican Drop Downtown for $2 glasses of sparkling wine all evening long. There will also be $3 beers and $4 glasses of wine.
WHEN: 5 p.m.- 10 p.m.
WHERE: Distinctive Kitchens, 29 S. Palafox
DETAILS: dk4u.com

ICE FLYERS VS. MISSISSIPPI SURGE
Get your game on before ringing in the New Year. From 6 p.m. -10 p.m., the Pensacola Ice Flyers play the Mississippi Surge at the Civic Center.
WHEN: 6 p.m.-10 p.m.
WHERE: Civic Center, 201 E. Gregory Street
DETAILS: pensacolaciviccenter.com

NAME TAG NEW YEAR’S
At Play, all ladies will receive a nametag at the door. Ladies can write their name or favorite man hating phrase on the tag (phone number is optional) and give it to a deserving guy. The guy will receive a free drink on his tab and if he’s truly a good one, he’ll give that drink to you. Play will also feature incredible drink specials and free Play signature King Koopa drinks at midnight. Win door prizes and drink free champagne with no cover charge.
WHERE: Play, 16 S. Palafox Suite 200
DETAILS: iplaypensacola.com

VINYL MUSIC HALL
At 8 p.m., join Vinyl Music Hall for a free New Year’s Eve concert and party, featuring Baton Rouge’s newest female fronted party band, The Heaters.
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
DETAILS: vinylmusichall.com

PENSACOLA SYMPHONY
Starting at 7 p.m., celebrate the New Year with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Pops Series, Featuring Ryan Anthony on the trumpet.
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: 118 S. Palafox
DETAILS: 595-3880 or pensacolasymphony.com

SEVILLE QUARTER
Starting at 7 p.m., join the Good Time Gang at Seville Quarter with a party package to fit everyone’s expectations (and budget). Seville’s New Year’s Eve party will feature live entertainment including music by Gretsch and the Modern Eldorados, Schofield, and the Rosie O’Grady’s Dueling Piano Show. In addition, DJ Mr. Lao will be spinning high-energy dance music in Phineas Phogg’s. All guests will get party favors and enjoy a Cristalino Cava Brut toast at Midnight.

If you want to make a full night of it take advantage of the “Stay and Play” package. Seville Quarter and Courtyard by Marriott Downtown & Residence Inn by Marriott, Downtown have teamed up to provide a fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebration. For the price of $209 per couple (plus applicable taxes) you get a room at the hotel of your choice, complimentary shuttle to and from the party and late checkout. To make reservations call the Courtyard by Marriott, Downtown at 439-3330 or the Residence Inn by Marriott, Downtown at 432-0202. Make sure you tell them that you want the Seville Quarter stay and play package.

A gourmet wine dinner will be served in the Heritage Hall, prepared by their Executive Chef, Brandon Melton. Reservations are being taken for two seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The cost is $99 per couple. (Tax and gratuity not included) and guests are invited to stay and enjoy the party at Seville Quarter.

For $35 per person (in advance, $40 on December 31) you can get the Membership Party Package. You get a 2012 Membership card, live Entertainment on four stages plus the great dance music in Phineas Phogg’s and Apple Annie’s. For those who just want to dance the night away your option is the Dance Package with a budget-reduced price of $20 per person at the door with access to all rooms in the main complex. Everyone will get terrific party favors and there will be a complex-wide countdown and champagne toast to ring in 2012.
WHERE: Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government Street
DETAILS: 434-6211 or sevillequarter.com

THE FISH HOUSE
The Fish House wants you to ring in the New Year at their House. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a four-course wine dinner, live music and complimentary champagne toasts at midnight.
Beginning at 6:00 p.m., the Fish House will offer a special dinner in celebration of New Year’s Eve. This special menu, created by Chef Billy Ballou, features four courses paired with wines selected by Beverage Director William Morse and Premier Beverage Company.
Some highlights of the menu are an appetizer selection of a butternut squash tart with roasted butternut squash, Alabama chèvre, and fresh herbs paired with Peter Lehmann Layers White 2010, Barossa and Adelaide, Australia. A dessert selection: roasted pear and hazelnut parfait, layered with roasted-pear mascarpone, hazelnut nougat, and zinfandel-poached pears paired with Marqués de Cáceres Satinela 2009, Rioja, Spain.

The full menu is available on the website: fishhouse.goodgrits.com.
The cost of the event is $100 per person. The price includes four courses with nine menu options to choose from, with wine pairings that accompany each option. The price excludes tax and gratuity. 

There are two available seating times for this event, 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. To make reservations, please call Melissa Bailey, events coordinator of The Great Southern Restaurant Group, 433-9450.

After the dinner, guests are encouraged to dance the night away at the Fish House Deck Bar. Entertainment will be provided by Jerry Dawson of the Shiz and guest musicians from the Astronauts. Complimentary party hats, noisemakers, streamers and a champagne toast at midnight to welcome the New Year will be provided. There is no charge to attend the Deck Bar’s New Year’s Eve performance of The Astronauts band. “It will be a fun night – we have the area’s only waterfront New Year’s Eve party,” said Jean Pierre Ndione, general manager of the Fish House. “Our outdoor areas are fully covered with clear sidewalls and heated, allowing guests to ring in the New Year on Pensacola Bay.”
WHEN: 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
WHERE: Fish House, 600 S. Barracks St.
DETAILS: 433-9450 fishhouse.goodgrits.com

NEW YEAR’S EVE AT JACKSON’S
There will be two seatings in the President’s Room at Jackson’s for New Year’s Eve at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. featuring Chef Irv Miller’s culinary goods. Enjoy a three-course meal and bottomless champagne for $125. For those with tickets to the 7 p.m. Pensacola Symphony concert, Jackson’s will be open at 5 p.m. with their regular menu. Last year, the event sold out quickly so reserve your table soon. Complimentary Hoppin’ John will be available after the Pelican drops.
WHEN: 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
WHERE: Jackson’s 400 S. Palafox
DETAILS: 469-9898 or jacksons.goodgrits.com

MAMA LUCKY AT FIVE SISTERS BLUES CAFÉ
Mama Lucky will be playing at Five Sisters Blues Café starting at 9 p.m. Party favors and champagne will be available to ring in the New Year at midnight.
WHEN: Show starts at 9 p.m.
WHERE: Five Sisters Blues Café 421 W. Belmont St.
DETAILS: 912-4856 or fivesistersbluescafe.com

ELBOW ROOM
The Elbow Room has been carrying on a fine tradition for New Year’s Eve, they have a champagne toast at midnight – everyone takes turns drinking champagne out of a black high heel pump. Some say the only way to guarantee a healthy and prosperous New Year is to drink from that shoe. Party favors will be provided as well.
WHERE: Elbow Room, 2213 W. Cervantes
DETAILS: 434-0300

PENSACOLA BEACH
Fireworks will light up the sky at the Gulf Pier on Pensacola Beach at midnight.
WHERE: Gulf Pier, 735 Pensacola Beach Blvd.
DETAILS: visitpensacolabeach.com

BAMBOO WILLIE’S
New Year’s Eve bash, party starts at 8 p.m. with musical guest Mainstream. Free Champagne Toast, party favors and a balloon drop at midnight.
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Bamboo Willie’s, 400 Quietwater Beach Rd.
DETAILS: bamboowillies.com

POLAR BEAR PLUNGE
Dive into the New Year at the Polar Bear Plunge. Many challenge themselves every year to enter the cool waters of the Santa Rosa Sound. Registration starts at 12:30 p.m.
WHEN:  2 p.m.
WHERE: 21 Via De Luna
DETAILS: 932-1500 or paradisebar-grill.com