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Ring In The New Year, South Florida Style

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Fireworks lit up the night sky. (Source: CBS)

Fireworks lit up the night sky. (Source: CBS)

Carey-Codd-600x450 Carey Codd
Carey Codd is a General Assignment Reporter for CBS4 News and jo...
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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Looking to ring in the new year in South Florida? There are plenty of things to do.

The city of Fort Lauderdale is hosting its’ Downtown Countdown Friday. The party begins at 3 pm with activities for the kids — like face painting, bounce houses, games and contests. Click here for a list of events.

Between 7:30-8 pm, live music will begin on two stages along SW 2nd Street. There will be food, drinks and lots of other stuff to check out. The city is anticipating tens of thousand of attendees.

The best part, according to city spokesperson Petula Burks, is that the event is free. For a complete list of South Florida events, click here.

“It’s free, free, free and that’s great when people are still struggling coming out of these hard economic times and it’s safe,” Burks told CBS 4′s Carey Codd. “You can bring your entire family.”

It’s a special celebration because 2011 kicks off Fort Lauderdale’s 100th birthday. The city put up an enormous “100″ sign at the entrance to Fort Lauderdale beach.

The city’s New Year’s ball got a makeover. It is now outfitted with 10,000 LED lights.

“This year the ball went green and we have LED lights and we don’t need to change our lights now for another ten years,” Burks said. “The lights use less energy than we have before.”

The event costs about $58,000 with a large portion of that covered by corporate sponsors, like Ford Motor Company, which will have a car exhibition in Esplanade Park.

In Miami-Dade, Big Orange — a 35-foot neon orange — is ready to climb to the top of the Hotel InterContintental Miami. Visitors can prepare to watch the orange drop from Bayfront Park beginning at 7 pm. There will be live music, fireworks over Biscayne Bay and a laser light show. The event is free.

Ocean Drive is being renamed Orange Drive for three days in the buildup to the Orange Bowl game between Stanford and Virginia Tech on Monday night.

A “Jam on the Sand” is slated for Friday night on South Beach. DJ Irie, Natasha Bedingfield and Leona Lewis are scheduled to perform. Radio Disney will host a Kid’s Countdown and there are numerous other performers and activities.

“We think the world needs to know how great South Beach and Miami Beach is and we’re here to tell that story in support with the local community,” said Shawn Garrity, president of Union Square Agency, which organized the event.

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