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Downtown Bradenton's New Year's Eve Celebration

To honor 2011 we're giving you 11 choices to ring in the New Year at one of Bradenton’s many bars.

New Year’s Eve celebrations are never hard to find.

And they come in all varieties, from the swanky and expensive to laid-back and casual. If you’re looking for fine dining, fireworks, champagne or singing, there’s bound to be a Bradenton location for you.

Old Main Street will have perhaps the biggest party of the evening with live music from the Michael Mac Band at 8 p.m. until midnight. (An opening act at 6 p.m. has yet to be announced.)

Proceeds from the event will benefit the American Cancer Society’s fight against breast cancer. The nationally-recognized color symbolizing this fight is pink, and the organizers of the New Year’s Eve event, the Old Main Street Merchants Association, will drop a pink ball from a crane at midnight. All proceeds from the pink draft beers purchased from the beer wagon parked on Old Main Street will go to the American Cancer Society.

Old Main Street from Third to Manatee Avenues West will close to vehicular traffic between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. There is no cover charge to attend but you must be 21 to drink alcohol or enter the bars.

Speaking of bars, the watering holes on Old Main Street are open throughout the day and until at least 2 a.m. Stop in and say hello to our friends at (where you can also buy pizza by the slice until close), , , , and the .

And in honor of the passing of 2011, here are 11 other of our favorite places to spend New Year’s Eve:

, 6218 Cortez Rd., wraps up its 4th annual Shamrock Shiver Charity Plunge with a dip in the Gulf at noon at Gulf Drive and 12th Street West on Bradenton Beach. Take the plunge or watch and cheer on the swimmers, then warm up at Clancy’s with live music from Jack Tamburin at 9 p.m. until midnight, raffles, food, plenty of drinks and a free champagne toast at midnight. All proceeds from the Shamrock Shiver go to charities supporting disadvantaged children in Manatee County.

Didn’t think those adult-sized diapers and 2012 sash would get any use this year? The best “Baby New Year” outfit gets a $200 bar tab at , 5627 14th St. W., New Year’s party. DJ music, dancing, complimentary hats, noise makers, party favors and a free champagne toast at midnight.

, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., has live music from Ben Prestage and opening act Randy McNeeley. Tickets are $25 at the door and, if they’re still available, include a champagne toast, party favors, a breakfast buffet at 12:30 a.m. New Year’s Day.

, 5917 Manatee Ave. #201, has live music from Peacekeeper, specials on Bud and Bud Light and plenty of authentic Jamaican food.

Maybe you’ll get the honor of “singing” in the New Year at , 1814 14th St. W., where there’s karaoke from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Free biscuits and gravy all night and a champagne toast at midnight.

, 10104 Cortez Rd., is partying from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. with live music from Rox Band and Cellfish Band and special guests, including Wikked Jester lead singer Tommy Devine. Champagne toast, party favors, drink specials and food until 2 a.m. Cover: $5.

, 801 Riverside Dr. E., has a special menu with entrées, appetizers and dessert from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. for $38 per person. Reservations not required but recommended. Call 941.746.8700. The celebration includes a glass of champagne, party favors and fireworks. Live music from Big Daddy.

Free midnight specials at , 2604 Manatee Ave. E., include black-eyed peas and greens for good luck in ’12. Drink specials, a pot luck and free champagne toast at midnight. Party starts at 8 p.m.

If you haven’t bought your tickets to the exclusive, limited-seating event in the ballroom at , 1200 First Ave. W., no need to fret. There is seating available on the outdoor terrace and in the main dining room. Live music, food and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $24.95 or $49.95, depending on the time. Contact: www.pier22dining.com or 941.748.8087.

, 4307 26th St. W., will have the New York City ball drop live on its two large screen televisions, a champagne toast, party favors and a “drop” of its own: 600 balloons at midnight! Dress to impress, though. No flip flops, tank tops or basketball shorts. Cover: $5.

Another balloon drop at , 5917 Manatee Ave. W. #509. Party favors, champagne toast, $1.25 Killians all day and night, and karaoke from 9 p.m. until last call at 1:45 a.m.

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