By: Samantha McCain
Residents and visitors alike are in for a treat with an early confetti countdown for children, two live musical acts, vendors and a street party during Midnight on Front Street, Hattiesburg’s New Year’s Eve Celebration on December 31.
Slated for a full night, the event will feature live music from Hub City Sound Machine, Big Fun Brass Band and native-Hattiesburger DJ Kujho.
“Thanks to several generous sponsors and our partnerships with the Downtown Hattiesburg Association and Visit Hattiesburg, we have a full slate of fun for Hattiesburgers of all ages,” Mayor Toby Barker said. “With a countdown geared for children in the Pocket Museum alley earlier in the night to live music, we continue to build a premier destination event in the Gulf South.”
New this year, the Confetti Countdown for children in the Pocket Museum Alley will include crafts, concessions and family-friendly activities. The area will open at 6:30 p.m., and it will end with a countdown of its own – a balloon pop with confetti at 8 p.m.
“This is a great opportunity to bring the family downtown and enjoy the New Year’s Eve festivities early if being back at home and in bed before Midnight is a priority for families,” Barker said.
In addition to the live music, the event will feature food and beverage vendors in the street with several downtown restaurants and merchants open for business for the duration of the event.
“This event is a time-honored tradition and we are proud to partner with the City for the fifth year to host it,” said Downtown Hattiesburg Association Director Andrea Saffle. “Many of our merchants are hosting their own VIP celebrations to include special menus, bathroom access, beverages and special perks. It’s always a fun event, and we look forward to seeing residents and visitors right here on Front Street at Midnight.”
Downtown restaurants with events include Southern Prohibition, The Porter, Blu Jazz Cafe, Bourbon on Front, Hattiesburgers and Blues, and Trattoria.
The agenda for the night includes:
- 4 p.m. – Event perimeter roads will close to traffic in Downtown Hattiesburg for event set-up.
- 6:30 p.m. – Confetti Countdown event in the Pocket Museum alley begins.
- 8 p.m. – Balloon Pop in the alley and Hub City Sound Machine begins playing on the stage at Front Street.
- 9 p.m. – DJ Kujho begins, serving as the event emcee.
- 10:15 p.m. – Big Fun Brass Band begins playing on the stage at Front Street.
- 11:15 p.m. – DJ Kujho takes over as the crowd gets ready to count down to Midnight.
- 11:55 p.m. – Mayor Barker makes remarks and begins the midnight countdown.
- Midnight – Hub Sign drops and dual fireworks take place.
- 1 a.m. – The event ends.
- 2 a.m. – All local businesses and restaurants close.
The city’s public safety teams and the traffic division in Transportation & Engineering are working closely together to map out the event perimeter, focusing on safety, walkability and crowd control. Road closures and traffic details will be released the week of the event.
“In addition to firework safety support with the Hattiesburg Fire Department, our divisions are working closely with the City’s traffic division to focus on the safety of all of our residents and visitors during this event,” Hattiesburg Police Chief Peggy Sealy said. “We’ll have a big presence throughout the night, with officers walking around to help with crowd control and additional officers on bike patrol. Above all else, public safety is a priority.
“Individual fireworks and vehicular traffic in blocked-off zones will not be permitted.”
The event will also have public safety support from AAA and the Forrest County Sherriff’s Department. For a full agenda, details about parking, Hub City transit and more, visit hburgnye.com.