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Tri-State rings in 2012

New Year
Dec. 31, 2011 @ 11:00 PM

HUNTINGTON — The Tri-State welcomed 2012 with singing, dancing and spending time with friends and loved ones. And there were plenty of places to choose from Saturday night.

Crowds of people attended New Year's parties, large and small, in Huntington. Down at the Pullman Plaza Hotel, nearly 200 people attended the annual party led by disc jockey and former radio host J.B. Miller, while hundreds more enjoyed live music at the Frederick Hotel and Tahona Grill.

But, no matter where they chose to go, the one constant was fun.

"Let's face it, we all have to work," said 29-year-old Paul Martin. "So we're only able to get together, sadly, for one night a year. We reflect and look forward and set goals."

At the Frederick Hotel, folks watched the ball drop in Times Square on a large video screen, while also enjoying live music from Michael Thomas and The Explosive Dynamiks.

It was the right place to be for Matt Sowards and Heather Cazad. Both enjoy the food and atmosphere of the 21 Club at The Frederick and knew the party would be good.

"It's always fun to get out and celebrate and ring in the new year," said Sowards, who added that they were in Nashville, Tenn., last year. "We make new memories instead of the same routine every year."

Cazad said she has a lot to look forward to in 2012, as she will graduate from Marshall University with a degree in English education. But, she said the start of every year should be celebrated.

"I'm an optimist, so I feel optimistic about every year," she said.

A half a block away on 10th Street, the Tahona Grill hosted an endless champagne and steak dinner, followed by live jazz music from The First Class Band. Owner Ray Garcia said it was a great opportunity to reintroduce the 5-month-old restaurant to the community and offer a more laid back atmosphere.

"Given that it's our first year, we wanted do something special ... something different that was nice and affordable."

In Ashland, the Paramount Arts center held a New Year's Eve Gospel Show, featuring Brian Free and Assurance, Sisters, Mercy's Well, John Darin Rowsey, the Guardians Quartet and the Christ Temple Choir.

A large group of teenagers gathered at First Baptist Church of Kenova for the annual teen lock-in. The event, led by Josh Sowards, the minister for youth and families, provides a safe and fun atmosphere for teens to celebrate.

"We want them to know they have an opportunity to celebrate the past year and get excited about what God is going to do in the new year," Josh Sowards said.

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