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No Seacrest Needed 

click to enlarge cocktails - PHOTO BY BOB DORAN
  • photo by Bob Doran
  • cocktails

This year, they're makin' it easy fer ya. Take a glance at the Journal's calendar and/or music grid this week and you'll note no shortage of goings-ons to help you celebrate the arbitrary change of calendar numbers someone at some point decided to call "years." Take your pick. Whether you bro down at the Red Fox Tavern's hip hop party, dress to the nines at the Robert Goodman Tasting Room or dance your feet raw at the Arcata Playhouse, there are gatherings representing a wide array of atmospheric styles. You've all seen the Times Square ball drop before. So, get out.

But while it doesn't appear as a "official event" in our calendar, any fool who's been around HumCo on New Year's Eve knows that the largest and liveliest cluster of partygoers will congregate on the Arcata Plaza. Specifically, bar row. Attendees can expect an atmosphere second only to Halloween in rowdiness, drink-guzzling and flowerbed destruction.

What makes a Plaza New Year uniquely Humboldt? I defy you to find a more committed drum circle anywhere in these United States to ensure that any attempt at "Auld Lang Syne" will be quickly and rhythmically drowned out. Last year, not even a torrential downpour could impede a midnight circling of ol' Bill McKinley for the traditional countdown. Wimps should bring umbrellas.

If you do plan on braving the masses on the Plaza or at any of Friday night's publicized events, odds are you'll suck down a little sauce. The drunk-driving-idiot stigma has long plagued New Year's Eve celebrations. So, it'll sound cliché, but: Don't do that.

To ensure that you don't even think about it, the fine folks at AAA and Humboldt Towing are each offering free tow services on Dec. 31. AAA's Tipsy Tow program (800-AAA-HELP) and Humboldt Towing's T.O.W.E.D. program (442-4537) -- Towing Operators Working to Eliminate Drunk Driving -- are available after 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively, and operate until 6 a.m. in the morning in the greater Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna and McKinleyville areas. Both services specify that the free tows are only good if you are headed home and are not for wiseguys looking for rides to other parties. The fact that they have to say it means someone tried it, right? Classy.

Anywho, have fun. Stay safe. See you in 2011.

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Andrew Goff

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