Getting ready to celebrate '08

December 31, 2007 4:06:22 PM PST
Thousands of people are getting ready to usher in the New Year in Philadelphia. A huge fireworks display will mark the arrival of 2008 at Penn's Landing.

Thousands of people already began gathering along the Delaware riverfront late Monday afternoon, while crews were preparing the fireworks for the midnight celebration.

Thousands of other people will celebrate the New Year at area hotels and restaurants.

Pastry chefs at the Park Hyatt have been creating treats for an expected full house.

"We're expecting six hundred in the restaurant and we'll do a full house in the rooms. It does represent a big chunk of our business for December." Said Jeff Miller, general manager of the Park Hyatt.

For the hospitality industry, New Year's Eve is one of the big ones, right up there with Mother's Day.

"Everyone on deck. No one calls out. Long hours, but the end result is like the Super Bowl of the restaurant world at the end of the year," said chef Marc Plessis.

The Park Hyatt and other places in Philadelphia have long been booked, so is there any hope for procrastinators?

"There are still openings at Philadelphia restaurants and hotels. They can find them by going to," said Meryl Levitz of Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing.

If you are looking for events outside of the city, many local communities will also ring in the New Year with family-oriented activities.

One of those celebrations encompasses all of downtown Bethlehem.

The First Night Celebration in the Christmas City has something for everyone, but the primary focus is on families.

In fact, there's even a sky rocket display that goes off long before midnight.

There are more than 50 performances at 17 venues all across downtown.

The musical acts include live jazz, rock, and reggae bands... they've also scheduled an acrobatics show in the tradition of Cirque do Soleil.

The night culminates with the annual lowering of the giant marshmallow "Peep" at midnight. It's a Lehigh Valley tradition custom-made for families.