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Couples celebrate Pullman hotel

New Year's Eve
Dec. 31, 2012 @ 11:54 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Several couples attending Pullman Plaza Hotel's annual New Year's Eve Party on Monday were celebrating anniversaries as they welcomed 2013.

Jeff and Rosalene Black of Milton reached 26 years of marriage Monday and decided to spend this anniversary out on the town. They purchased a package through the hotel that included a movie at Pullman Square, a hotel room, breakfast and tickets to the party.

It was very much different than their usual quiet dinner and night at home, as the ballroom was packed with about 300 people grooving to DJ Primetime and later The Rick James Stone City Band. It was one of the first New Year's parties at the hotel that featured a live band, said Natalie Blackwelder, the director of sales.

While the party's entertainment was different, there were plenty of repeat guests. Tim and Becky McKee of Ashland attend every year, wrapping their anniversary and Christmas together for New Year's. They celebrated 16 years of marriage on Dec. 23.

Tim McKee works for the U.S. Postal Service and his wife is a hair stylist. Those jobs, he said, makes December a pretty hectic month.

"The month of December, we don't see each other," Tim McKee said. "We have a child and we work and work, so this is our Christmas present to each other."

Other folks were just happy to be welcoming 2013 among friends, including Joann Chukwuemeka, a nurse who plans to retire in the coming year. She said the new year means new adventures as she looks to doing interior decorating after retiring.

Brian Knipp, attending for the fifth straight year, said it's always a safe, fun evening where people can stay at the hotel and not get out on the roads. He joked that one of his goals in 2013 was to not get any older but was really thankful that he was with friends as the calendar changed.

It was such a good time that Blackwelder said she enjoyed working.

"There are a lot of managers working here tonight," she said. "But we're here because we want to be. Great team spirit."

She said she sees the hotel continuing work with other hoteliers and community groups to bring new events to Huntington, including Cabell County's celebration of West Virginia's 150th birthday in June.

Personally, she said she is excited to see her daughter graduate from high school in this new year.

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