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New Year's Eve celebrations planned in area

December 31, 2006|by TARA REILLY

TRI-STATE - A smoky, drunken atmosphere wasn't on the list of what to include in the Hagerstown 10 Cineplex's New Year's Eve celebration.

But a Southern rock concert, buffet dinner, alcohol-free drinks and watching the ball drop from Times Square on a 40-foot movie screen made the cut.

"I just wanted to do an event for the whole community that's nonalcoholic, no smoke, no bar atmosphere," said Alan Ackerman, owner of the cineplex. "I just wanted to do a New Year's Eve party for everyone in Hagerstown."

Ackerman expects between 300 and 500 people to ring in the new year at the cineplex's Leitersburg Concert Theatre at 20135 Leitersburg Pike, northeast of Hagerstown. The event is being billed as the New Year's Eve Sober Concert.

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The Southern rock band Ghost Riders, consisting of members from The Outlaws, Marshall Tucker Band, Pure Prairie League and Levon Helm Band, is headlining the all-ages event.

The opening acts are the Hagerstown-based Long Term Hero and the Chambersburg, Pa.-area Ominous.

Activities from Times Square will be shown in high definition on the big screen from about 11:45 p.m. to about 12:10 a.m., when the live music will resume.

"So everybody will get to watch the ball drop live at Times Square on a 40-foot-screen," Ackerman said.

Tickets for the event still are available and can be ordered by going to the box office, calling 301-797-7270 or at hagerstownmovies.com. Tickets are $25 per person or $45 per couple in advance, or $30 per person and $55 per couple at the door. Tickets for children younger than 12 are half-price.

Maryland State Police in Hagerstown are planning saturation patrols this weekend, and Pennsylvania State Police also will be looking for speeders, aggressive drivers and drunken drivers.

AAA Mid-Atlantic estimated that 1.23 million Maryland residents would travel 50 miles or more during the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

Pennsylvania State Police, in a press release issued earlier this month, urged caution while driving during the New Year's holiday.

"For everyone's safety, we urge all drivers to use common sense on the road this holiday season," Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said. "Don't be in a rush and try to cut a few minutes off your driving time by speeding or engaging in other reckless driving behavior. You have very little to gain and so much to lose."

Six people died and 255 people were injured in 761 crashes that Pennsylvania troopers responded to during last year's New Year's driving period, according to the statement.

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