Where to Celebrate the New Year in Region 8?

December 29, 2003 -- Posted at 3:57 p.m. CST

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY--Folks around Region 8 are gearing up for the big countdown to 2004. With lots of options to choose from, it's hard to decide just where to ring in the new year. While there's different things to do for kids, families and even adults on New Year's eve, the one common goal is to have a good time.

"This is a see and be seen place, for sure. It is where everybody comes to see their friends and that kind of thing and have wonderful food and live entertainment," said Mallory Johnston, manager of Omar's Steakhouse located in the 501 Club.

The 501 club in Jonesboro is one of the top spots to be at for ringing in 2004. But reservations for the 250 seat restaurant are going fast. Owners here have been busy taking reservations and putting on the finishing touches for the big celebration.

"This is the biggest night of the year and we want to make it special for everybody," said Johnston.

But if you can't take the kids out, what can you do? The Bono Church of Christ is hosting their seventh annual lock-in for teens in the community.

"I hope that they would come out here because it's safe and they would stay out of trouble...a lot better options than some of the things," said Darrell Parks, a volunteer youth minister for the church.

It was those "things" that Parks wanted to keep kids safe from...and so the lock-in was born.

"Some of our teenagers came to us and said that they were invited to a party and that they knew some things would be going on that they shouldn't be doing, and asked if we could give them something better to do, so we did," said Parks.

But if you're an adult and want to ring in 2004 with your family, you're in luck. Many families in Craighead County will be heading over to Cathedral Baptist Church in Jonesboro. The church will be having a New Year's Eve fellowship at their family life center.

"If we are going to tell our kids, don't go here and don't go there, then where are they going to go? So we've provided a place for them to come and recreate and have a great time," said Doug Welborn, pastor at Cathedral Baptist.

The church has been providing family fun entertainment for New Year's Eve for about 14 years.
"We have a strong belief in faith and family, and one of the things about family is that they need to not only pray together but play together," said Welborn, "I think that is something that we miss out in our society and so what we do to bring in the new year is just fellowship together, just come in and have a good time."

When making your New Year's Eve plans, be sure to call ahead for reservations...many places book up fast. Also, be sure to check with your local church on any activities planned, some may have a capacity limit.