Catch the COMET to S.C.’s Biggest Free NYE Party

Famously Hot New Year with Lauryn Hill – Millennium Magazine Columbia SC News

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Published on December 19th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Famously Hot New Year with Lauryn Hill

Catch the COMET to S.C.’s Biggest Free NYE Party

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – The New Southern Hot Spot is offering more than ever this New Year’s Eve, with shopping, dining and traveling options to enjoy alongside Famously Hot New Year – South Carolina’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration – along with special late night COMET bus service, six Midlands park-and-ride locations, limited free parking in eight City of Columbia garages, and $10 Alert Cab discounts.

In its fifth year, Famously Hot New Year (#FHNY) will take place in front of the S.C. State House at Main & Gervais in downtown Columbia, S.C. on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, 6:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Presented by the City of Columbia, Richland County and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, #FHNY is free and open to all ages, encompassing a free, full-length concert by Ms. Lauryn Hill and three S.C. bands, a midnight countdown with Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin, the most colossal NYE fireworks display in the Carolinas, and a range of family-friendly partner events, local attractions, hotels and hospitality districts within blocks of S.C.’s free party of the year.

How to Get There 

The Comet

FHNY urges locals to utilize the affordable, clean and safe transportation system of The COMET for just $3 flat, with unlimited rides to and from FHNY via two options: visiting a local bus stop and hopping on one of 12 regularly-running routes, or driving to one of six easy park-and-ride locations. Buses will run across the Midlands beginning at 6:00 a.m. December 31, with the last pickup from FHNY at Sumter and Lady Streets at 1:30 a.m. the night of the event.

With either option, guests can pay in cash on The COMET at the beginning of their first ride, on their mobile phones using the handy Catch the Comet app, on which riders can monitor the bus routes in real time:

View bus stops, routes and Park-and-Ride locations online:

This year’s park-and-ride locations include the following:

Alert Cab Discounts

Those who need a safe ride home can take an Alert Cab, in which the first $10 of each taxi cab fare is complimentary, thanks to sponsors KW Beverage and Budweiser. Catch an Alert Cab on Lady St., between Main and Sumter.


Eight downtown Columbia parking garages will be free as of 5:00 p.m. on FHNY, but parking will be limited due to what is expected to be high demand. Guests who take a safe ride home via The COMET or Alert Cab can pick up their vehicles the following day. See free garages and street closures online:

Where to Party

Famously Hot New Year encourages the public to support local businesses and restaurants who are offering their own VIP experiences and pre-parties for New Year’s Eve. A few pre-FHNY celebrations on Main Street include:

  • The Oak Table: Heavy passed hors d’oeuvres, open bar, access to FHNY, parking. Tickets, $150:
  • Bourbon: Heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, beer & wine; champagne toast, access to FHNY, parking. Tickets, $150:
  • Capitol City Club: Five course dinner, Geiger’s Lounge party, or VIP Package with dinner and party. Prices vary. More information:
  • Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse: Dinner for two with salad bar, six hot dishes, endless prime cuts, champagne, wine or beer; shared dessert. $100.

Guests can explore more options online at

New Sponsor Level for Private Citizens

A new sponsorship level has been announced to accommodate private citizens who wish to support this free community event alongside our generous corporate citizens. Sponsors at the $1000 level will receive four tickets to the private sponsor lounge on New Year’s Eve, where sponsors will enjoy S.C. cuisine by Scott Hall Catering, event design from By Invitation Only, open bar with specialty cocktails, free parking, coat check and immediate proximity to the event. Sponsorships at this level are very limited. To become a “Friend of Famously Hot New Year,” visit the sponsorship page of the website:

Where to Stay

Several hotels throughout the Midlands are featuring special deals for the Famously Hot New Year weekend. While many hotels near park-and-ride locations still have significant availability, downtown hotels are close to selling out.

  • Columbia Marriott Hotel: Famously Hot New Year’s Eve Package: steps away from FHNY, breakfast for two at Midlands Restaurant, late checkout.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Columbia Downtown at USC:New Year’s Eve Package: complimentary bottle of champagne in King Suites, shuttle to FHNY, breakfast for two, late checkout.
  • Columbia DoubleTree by Hilton: New Year’s Special Package:Fresh baked cookies upon arrival, parking and wifi, The COMET stop just blocks away, specials at hotel restaurant, Columbos. 803-744-2200.
  • Hyatt Place Columbia: Free wi-fi, free Kitchen Skillet breakfast, 3 blocks from FHNY.
  • Inn at USC Wyndham Garden Columbia: Famously Hot New Year’s Special: complimentary champagne at check in, shuttle service to and from FHNY, party favors, full breakfast for two, late checkout.
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott – Columbia Downtown/The Vista: Famously Hot New Year’s Eve:champagne at check-in, breakfast, parking and internet; shuttle service to FHNY, late checkout.

Visitors can view more hotel deals online, including hotels near NYE park-and-ride locations on Garners Ferry, Harbison area, Northeast Columbia and more, at

What to Do With the Kids

Families are welcome and celebrated at Famously Hot New Year. Visit the City of Columbia’s WOW! NYE Carnival the day of New Year’s Eve, with free admission, games and carnival rides galore with the purchase of a $10 unlimited ride wristband, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.. Ice skate at Main Street ICE, in front of the Columbia Museum of Art, from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.; then hit the free FHNY street party when gates open at 6:30 p.m. for food, face painters, balloon animal artists, karaoke and more before the concert begins at 7:00 p.m.

Where to Visit During the Street Party 

Guests at FHNY will get the chance to voice their hopes, wishes and visions for S.C. in 2016 by participating in a hands-on public art piece, #SCStrong Wall. Built by Karl Larsen, the 20 x 8-foot Palmetto flag blue #SCStrong Wall will stand at the corner of Lady and Main Streets. Lights will illuminate the wall throughout FHNY, welcoming a new year of strength and renewal in S.C.

Attendees looking for a seated space to enjoy food from the local food trucks, snack vendors and beer/wine/bubbly bars will enjoy a visit to the “Comfort Zone” at the corner of Main and Lady Streets. Buskers and street entertainers will be on site to provide additional delight for guests.

Entry Gate Locations and What to Leave at Home

There are five entry gates; they are located on Lady Street at Assembly Street; Lady at Sumter; Gervais at Assembly; Gervais at Sumter; and Main at Washington.

Items that are not allowed inside entry gates include the following: no coolers, chairs, tables, pets (outside of service animals), backpacks, skateboards/scooters, bicycles (bike parking is available throughout downtown Columbia), fireworks, laser pointers, picnic baskets, umbrellas, weapons, illegal substances, food or alcohol (food, beer, wine and bubbly will be for sale at the event). View FAQs here:

Ways to Support Flood Relief Online and at Entry Gates 

The public is encouraged to donate to the Governor’s One SC Flood Relief Fund at or text “onesc” to short code 33923, and donations via cash and check will be accepted at any of the 10 giving stations at Famously Hot New Year entry gates. Guests can also bring non-perishable food items for Harvest Hope Food Bank; volunteers from the University of South Carolina’s Flood Relief (#UofSCRelief) initiative will staff the giving stations.

Major Sponsors

City of Columbia and Richland County hospitality tax provide close to 40% of funding, while more than 60% of funding is provided by corporate citizens. Presenting Sponsor: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (#LiveFearlessSC); Gold Sponsors: Aflac and WLTX; Healthy Living Sponsor: Palmetto Health and the Walk for Life, Jan. 9, 2016; Fireworks Sponsor: SCE&G; Silver Sponsors: Hub at Columbia, Colonial Life, Pepsi of the Carolinas, Big DM and Budweiser/KW Beverage.

FHNY Celebration Schedule

12 p.m.—12 a.m. | Main Street ICE rink at Boyd Plaza (Main at Hampton streets)

6:00 p.m.—11:00 p.m | WOW! New Year’s Eve Carnival (Main at Hampton streets)

6:30 p.m. | Concert gates open

7:00 p.m.—7:45 p.m. | Dead 27s perform

8:00 p.m.—8:30 p.m. | ColorBlind performs

9:00 p.m.—10:00 p.m. | SUSTO performs

10:30 p.m.—11:55 p.m. | Ms. Lauryn Hill performs

11:55 p.m.—12:10 a.m. | Midnight festivities & fireworks

12:10—12:30 a.m. | Headliner finale and dancing

12:30 a.m. | Beer, wine and champagne sales end

1:00 a.m. | Celebration ends

Ms. Lauryn Hill in Concert 

Ms. Lauryn Hill, iconic GRAMMY-winning R&B recording artist (“Doo Wop (That Thing),” “Ex-Factor,” “Everything is Everything,” “Killing Me Softly”) will headline the free concert at Famously Hot New Year. Her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, swept five GRAMMYs at once: album of the year, best new artist, best female R&B performance, best R&B song and best R&B album — and it was the first hip-hop record to win album of the year. Moreover, Ms. Hill became the first woman or hip-hop artist to win five GRAMMYs. Ms. Hill is currently touring the globe, playing high-profile gigs such as LA’s Greek Theatre, the Nice Jazz Festival in France and Way Out West in Sweden; collaborating on projects such as a recent Nina Simone celebrity tribute album; and appearing on top shows such as “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.”

S.C. Homegrown Support Bands 

Three South Carolinian support acts will open for Ms. Hill: Charleston vintage rock group, Dead 27s; “folk-hop” project ColorBlind, led by Justin Smith and FatRat Da Czar with DJ Shekeese the Beast; and award-winning, Charleston-based alt-country band SUSTO.

Live Broadcast, Celebrity Emcees and Co-Chairs

The event will be live broadcast on TV by WLTX News 19 and via radio by Alpha Media stations The Big DM 101.3/WWDM and Hot 103.9/WHXT. WLTX anchor Darci Strickland, three-time Emmy-award winning journalist and University of South Carolina alum, will co-emcee FHNY, along with Big DM DJ and Operations Manager Chris Connors, multi-award winning radio host. Famously Hot New Year’s co-chairs and official spokespeople are Jill Armbruster, marketing director at UCI Medical Affiliates and Amos Disasa, pastor of Downtown Church.

About Famously Hot New Year

Set on South Carolina’s Main Street, Famously Hot New Year is the Palmetto State’s largest New Year’s Eve party, with a free, live outdoor concert by Ms. Lauryn Hill and the most colossal NYE fireworks display in the two Carolinas. In its fifth year, Famously Hot New Year extends its mission of bringing diverse communities together by supporting the One SC Flood Relief Fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation, with the hope of ringing in a new year of strength and renewal for our #SCStrong state. Last year, Famously Hot New Year drew a diverse crowd of more than 28,000 guests from across the region and nation to enjoy the free concert and fireworks; regional food vendors; plentiful cash bars with beer, wine and bubbly in a festival atmosphere; a family-friendly street carnival and ice rink; free parking and more in vibrant downtown Columbia, S.C., the “New Southern Hot Spot.” Plan your #FHNY and donate to #SCFloodRelief at


SOCIAL                    Facebook:

Twitter: @FamouslyHotNYE

Periscope: @FamouslyHotNYE

Instagram: @FamouslyHotNYE




HASHTAGS           #FHNY  |  #FHNYinfo  |  #GiveAToast



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