12/31/08 — New year's welcome: Wayne County residents still planning to party until it's 2009

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New year's welcome: Wayne County residents still planning to party until it's 2009

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on December 31, 2008 3:19 PM

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Store manager Beth Worley, left, helps Kimberly Junkin pick out party favors at Paper Place on Cashwell Drive for a New Year's Eve celebration. Wayne County residents are getting ready to mark the start of a new year, planning parties and get-togethers leading up to midnight Wednesday, when 2009 officially begins.

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Susan Crenshaw, right, owner of the Healthabit Natural Foods and Wine store in Goldsboro, assists Kaye Mooring, left, with selecting some wine for a holiday party. Ms. Crenshaw said that sales of champagne have been spotty, but that she expected Thursday to be busy.

Linda and Sammy Smith of the Coker's Mill community in Wayne County used to take advantage of a local motel's room and breakfast special and go out dancing to celebrate New Year's Eve.

But over the years, their tradition for Dec. 31 changed.

And this year, close to home is their game plan.

"We felt we just had to ring in the new year, but now, we have to get up early," Mrs. Smith said.

Both have to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work.

They say they will try to stay up long enough to watch the ball in Times Square drop on TV, but Mrs. Smith makes no promises.

Becky Christianson of Pine Level said she and her husband will also go to bed early.

"We will probably fall asleep before the ball comes down," she said.

Charles Swinson of Mount Olive is really getting an early start on the new year.

"We will watch the pickle drop at the Mt. Olive Pickle Co. (at midnight Greenwich time or 7 p.m. here)," he said.

And then, he plans to eat some hog jowls, black-eyed peas and cornbread tonight.

Mary Raven Bennett of Seven Springs has three options on how to spend her New Year's Eve, but she is leaning toward spending a quiet evening and watching the ball drop with her boyfriend and his father.

"I could hang out with my sister -- we have so much fun -- or a friend is going to have a New Year's party. But I'm leaning toward being with my boyfriend and his father. The last option is the party," she said.

Shannon Leblanc hasn't made any special plans yet for New Year's Eve. She has two options.

"I will probably watch the ball drop at my aunt's house. We'll probably have a quiet evening, or I'll go see the Spare Change band at Greenville," she said.

Couka Roxy Wood is going to have some fun. Her husband told her to look pretty Wednesday because they are going on a cruise.

"He made all the plans," Mrs. Wood said.

Ofeeya Israel said she has some really special plans for the occasion.

"Every year, my family celebrates the Jan. 1, 1863 signing of the Emancipation Proclamation," she said. "We'll celebrate from sundown Wed-nesday to sundown Thursday."

Anastasia Lofton said she won't be in Wayne County for New Year's Eve, but she does have plans.

She expects to stay up a few hours past midnight.

"I stay in Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) now, so I will be partying in Miami with my boo (boyfriend) on New Year's," she said. "I'm flying out tomorrow."

Her mother, Tonya, will be celebrating with her friend Selena Houpe tonight.

"We are starting fresh," Tonya said.

"I usually celebrate New Year's Eve with my boo, but I don't have a boo this year," Ms. Houpe said.

The two walk to friends' houses to celebrate.

"It's safer that way," Tonya said. "And we normally have certain foods that we fix to have."

"Yeah, we normally have black-eyed peas, pork and greens," Ms. Houpe said. "And we normally call our friends and family to tell them, 'Happy New Year's,' too."