Ringing in the new!

Visitors and locals found a variety of ways to ring out the old year last Saturday night and welcome the new.

Whether they went to all-inclusive parties or exclusive events at major hotels, limed with friends and/or family, stayed at home, or went to the beach or to church, they all had a grand time and were thankful to see 2017.

No amount of rain could dampen their spirits or stop them from singing Auld Lang Syne at the stroke of midnight.

From as early as 6 p.m., guests at Sandal’s second NYE Gala dined on fine cuisine and mingled and danced to deejay music, setting themselves up for what was to be an epic night.

However, a heavy downpour just after 9 p.m. put a temporary halt to the festivities, sending patrons to look for shelter.

Sandals staff was quick to have things up and running again, and patrons continued to dance the night away. At the stroke of midnight, under a beautiful display of fireworks, they sang, danced and exchanged New Year’s greetings with friends, family and even strangers.

Following that, the merriment kicked into another gear as staff and guests partied to the some of the biggest songs for 2016, as well as older hits.

Sandals general manager Fernand Zievinger said the hotel had catered for over 500 guests, inclusive of specially invited guests, and he was pleased to see everyone enjoying themselves, and that the rain did not put a damper on the event.

Ocean Two staged its sixth Old Year’s Night event, treating guests to an all-inclusive affair that started promptly with a sumptuous buffet dinner at 7:30 p.m.

Scottish Dad Graeme Hill (left) and his children Niamh Hill and Jack Hill were among those ushering in the New Year at the Ocean Two Resort & Residences.

Kiah Richards, an aerialist, later became the centre of attention of the Vegas-themed event with a captivating half-hour segment of stretching style exercises.

Richards left many guests wanting more of her three-dimensional movements – a request that she happily fulfilled.

Although the intermittent rains threatened to hamper the much-anticipated fireworks display, the 100 guests remained upbeat and swiftly made their way to the beach when the DJ announced that it was five minutes before midnight.

When the clock struck midnight, the silence was broken with a crackle and the cloudy skies lit up with a beautiful display of fireworks for about ten minutes.

Operations manager Paul Collymore expressed great satisfaction with the execution of the event and credited the extensive planning by his team for its success.

“Based on the feedback I’ve received thus far, the guests thoroughly enjoyed the event. We tried to cater to everyone with the different segments and the variety of music. I’m pleased with what I have seen,” he said.

The family affair wrapped up at 2 a.m. with most of the guests opting to retreat to their rooms.

Over at Hilton’s event, Light It Up, glitz, glamour, a wide variety of food, entertainment and a spectacular fireworks show were the order of the night.

Patrons said goodbye to 2016 and ushered in 2017 in grand style, despite intermittent showers threatening to mar the open-air affair. If one were to give credence to omens and signs, the fact that the rains held up on the stroke of midnight so that patrons could see the synchronization and beauty of the 15-minute fireworks display, certainly augers well for 2017.

However, even though the fireworks were the main highlight of the event, special mention must be made of the live entertainment which, in conjunction with the champagne and other assorted alcoholic drinks, kept everyone in high spirits well into the early hours of the first day of the year.

The versatility of headline act Mr Dale certainly left those in attendance awestruck, as many were under the impression that the artiste’s range was limited to soca. He dug deep for the classics, sampling the pop, reggae and hip-hop genres, before bringing the performance home.

Mr Dale delighted the crowd with his versatility and energy on stage.

Less of a surprise was Biggie Irie, as tales of his seemingly limitless vocal range have travelled far beyond the shores of Barbados. The big man had the ladies swooning as he demonstrated the scope of his powerful but silky voice, when he ventured into various musical genres to perform a number of timeless hits.

Biggie Irie demonstrated his impressive vocal range.

The entertainment package was by no means limited to the on-stage performances as patrons, upon entering the venue, were treated to a number of ancillary perks that included a photo booth, makeup booth and goodie bags.

The glitz and glamour at Belle Plantation guaranteed an epic night as Elevate Suit and Tie presented its third installment Via Monte Napoleon, an unforgettable, cinematic night. Hundreds rang in the New Year with style at the premium all-inclusive event.

Following the theme Via Monte Napoleon, patrons took cues from the famous Italian fashion district. While the females were elegantly attired in their gowns, the males embodied the classic man in their suits and ties.

The highlight of the night was the beautiful fireworks display that began promptly at midnight. As party goers said their goodbyes to 2016, there was an outpouring of cheers, hugs and New Year’s kisses.

Even with the inconsistent showers, the party continued into the New Year as some opted to dance in the rain and others continued their merrymaking under the tents.

Partygoers were treated to an enticing selection of music from the likes of Riggo Suave from Brooklyn, Jus Jay, Daddy Bubbles, DJ Ras and Scott le Roc. Once patrons were well elevated, the jackets came off and the heels were ditched for sandals. Even past its scheduled 4:30 a.m. cut-off point, partygoers continued to ring in the New Year with style and good vibes.

Other Barbadians opted for a more intimate setting, such as Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss’ house party, which coincides with his birthday on January 1.

Others chose to usher in 2017 in church, giving thanks and praise for a new year.

Whatever they did, it’s clear they enjoyed themselves and are ready to take on the New Year.

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