5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Monday, December 31

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Monday, December 31.

(1) 10th Annual Light Up Tampa Bay

Downtown Tampa will be rocking for New Year's Eve on Monday.

The Florida Aquarium is holding their Aqua-Eve party. The sold-out event features fantastic live music, complementary food, beer and wine, and a champagne toast at midnight.

The aquarium offers a great view of Tampa's fireworks display at midnight.

Speaking of that display, the 10th Annual Light Up Tampa Bay is being held at Channelside Bay Plaza today.

The free party begins at 4:00 p.m. Live music and DJs will be playing in the courtyard all night. The fireworks show kicks off when the ball drops at midnight.

Fore more information, visit www.channelsidebayplaza.com .

(2) Sarasota Pineapple Drop

Sarasota will ring in the New Year on Monday night by bringing back the popular Pineapple Drop.

The party begins at 2:00 p.m. along Main Street, Lemon Avenue and State Street with a family-friendly carnival featuring rides for adults and children, and a fun house.

At 7:00 p.m. Main Street opens with entertainment on all stages. Musical acts include: Big Blu House, Meteoreyes, New Vega, DJ Kensi, DJ Supreme 1, Doug Deming & Jewel Tines, and Cherry Bombs.

A lit-up Pineapple will be lowered on a pole for the countdown to the start of 2013.

Drinks will be available from vendors as well as in local restaurants and bars. The event is free and open to the public.

(3) LEGOLAND Kid's New Year's Eve

If you desire a kid-friendly way to ring in the New Year, you will want to visit LEGOLAND in Winter Haven on Monday.

A giant LEGO brick will be dropped at midnight KST (Kid Standard Time), also known as 6:00 p.m.

The party begins with a live DJ Dance Party in Miniland USA. The grand finale features the brick drop and an impressive fireworks display.

LEGOLAND Florida will remain open until 8:00 p.m. tonight. For more information, call (877) 350-5346 or visit florida.legoland.com .

(4) Outback Bowl New Year's Eve Parade

Outback Bowl events continue on Monday with the traditional New Year's Eve Parade and Pep Rally.

The South Carolina and Michigan marching bands and cheerleaders will be features in the parade which also has a number of floats and twenty other marching bands.

The parade starts at 5:30 p.m. and run along 7th Avenue. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

Kickoff for the Outback Bowl is set for 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.

For more information on Outback Bowl events or to purchase tickets to the game, visit www.outbackbowl.com .

(5) New Year's Eve road safety

AAA wants to remind drivers and passengers of the dangers and drinking and driving on New Year's Eve. The holiday consistently ranks as the year's deadliest day for alcohol-related fatalities.

New Year's Eve partygoers can do their part by heeding the following advice:

  • Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
  • Never get behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking any amount of alcohol.
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol.
  • Call a taxi for a friend in need.
  • If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself.
  • Remember over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.

You can also call AAA's Tow to Go program for a free confidential local ride within a 10-mile radius to a safe location. The program is available to both AAA members and non-members. The AAA tow truck takes both the vehicle and the driver home.

If you need the Tow to Go Service, call (855) 2-TWO-2-GO (or toll-free 855-286-9246).

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