New Year's Eve in Panama City Beach is something to celebrate

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Pier Park Beach Ball Drop draws a crowd at a time of year we wouldn't normally see.

"This is one of our premiere events for the destination," Visit Panama City Beach Vice President of Marketing Jayna Leach said.

For the past 10 years, the Beach Ball Drop has been growing into an event that draws thousands of people.

"We generally see around 40,000 people and we've seen those numbers be very strong the past couple of years," Leach said.

With a population of just a bit more than 12,000 residents, the influx of people is great for the local economy during what is considered one of the slower months of the year.

"We really are seeing an economic impact because the resorts, hotels, properties, the restaurants are busy as well and so people are out enjoying the destination in the month of December," Leach added.

"Every year, New Year's Eve falls on a different day, so that changes peoples' ability to travel, depending on if it's on a weekend or weekday. New Year's [Eve] is on a weekend," said Director of Marketing for Holiday Inn, Phlip Covine, "but we expect to sell out. We do every year. We have for the last four or five years."

Gaining recognition across the country, the Pier Park ball drop is becoming one of the South's most popular New Year's Eve events.

"It truly is a leading event for a ball drop and it is very unique," Leach said.

"We absolutely get visitors who come for the ball drop. It's a good draw," Covine added.

As one of the few family-friendly celebrations, the ball drop celebration stands out among the rest.

"One of our strategic goals is to become a 12-month designation," said Leach. "This event truly has an impact on our area because historically, prior to this event, there wasn't a lot of demand for the month of December and as this event has continued to grow, we've seen the economic impact of that as our tourist development tax dollars have doubled over the past 10 years."

Neighboring counties are also holding some fun New Year's Eve celebrations.

In Walton County, Baytowne Wharf and Seaside will be hosting family-friendly countdowns with live music and fireworks.

Alys Beach and AJ's in Grayton Beach will also have cocktail parties for those who are kid free.

And if you really want to go all out this year, you can ring in the new year twice in two different time-zones in Gulf County.

Here is a list of a few other local events:

Salute 2017 at Fonville Press
Alys Beach
11 a.m.
(850) 213-5564

New Years Eve Brunch at Craft Bar 30A
Grayton Beach
11a.m.
(850) 213-4000

New Year's Eve at Old Florida Fish House
Seagrove
1 p.m.
(850) 534-3045

Movie Marathon at The Hub
Watersound
3 p.m.
(850) 213-0782

New Year’s Eve Sunset Celebration at Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge Rosemary Beach
3 p.m.
(850) 588-2882

New Year’s Eve Sunday Funday at Local Catch Bar & Grill
Blue Mountain Beach
4 p.m.(850) 622-2022

Ring in the New Year at Marina Bar & Grill
Sandestin
4 p.m.
(850) 267-7778

New Year’s Eve Dinner at Havana Beach Bar & Grill
Rosemary Beach
5 p.m.
(850) 588-2882

New Year's Eve Bash at The Red Bar
Grayton Beach
5 p.m.
(850) 231-1008

Baytowne Countdown at the Village of Baytowne Wharf
Sandestin
5 p.m.
(850) 267-8180

New Year’s Eve Party at Cuvee 30A
Inlet Beach
5 p.m.
(850) 909-0111

New Year’s Eve at Edward’s Fine Food & Wine
Rosemary Beach
5 p.m.
(850) 231-0550

New Year's Eve Dinner at Sandcastles
Sandestin
5 p.m.
(850) 267 9500

New Year’s Eve Dinner at Restaurant Paradis
Rosemary Beach
5 p.m.
(850) 534-0400

New Year’s Eve Dinner at Surfing Deer
Seagrove
6 p.m.
(850) 213-4200

New Year’s Eve Dinner at Café Thirty-A
Seagrove
6 p.m.
(850) 231-2166

New Year’s Eve Celebration at George’s
Alys Beach
6 p.m.
(850) 234-3836

New Year’s Eve Dinner at Marlin Grill
Sandestin
6 p.m.
(850) 351-1990

New Year’s Eve Celebration at Old Florida Fish House
Seagrove
6 p.m.
(850) 534-3045

Countdown Seaside: A New Year's Eve Celebration at Seaside Amphitheatre
Seaside
7 p.m.
(850) 714-3166

New Year’s Eve Dinner at 723 Whiskey Bravo
Seagrove
7 p.m.
(850) 213-0015

SOLARIS New Year’s 2018 Fireworks Dinner Cruise at Baytowne Marina
Sandestin
8 p.m.
(850) 650-2519

New Year’s Eve Celebration at AJ’s
Grayton Beach
9 p.m.
(850) 231-4102

Family Beach Ball Drop at The Hub
Watersound
9 p.m.
(850) 213-0782