Area residents ready to ring in new year

Free Tipsy Taxi rides to be offered for revelers

The end is near for 2003. Get ready to welcome 2004.

As one of the biggest party nights of the year, New Year's Eve will find area bars and clubs packed with revelers for music, dancing and drinking -- and some celebrating too much.

For those lacking a designated driver to get them home from a bar or party, free rides are being offered by Midwest Taxi through its Tipsy Taxi program. The service will be available from 8 p.m. today until 6 a.m. Thursday.

Last year Tipsy Taxi took more than 200 people home from New Year's Eve parties, said manager Dave Old.

"We had a steady stream of people all night," he said.

To call the Tipsy Taxi, dial 842-TAXI (8294). Though 10 taxis will be on call tonight, there could be a wait for rides during some periods, Old said.

According to the National Fatality Analysis Reporting System, more than half of fatal accidents during the New Year's holiday are alcohol-related.

Neither the Lawrence Police Department nor the Douglas County Sheriff's Office will be conducting special patrols for intoxicated drivers, nor will they be operating drunken-driving check lanes. But they will be watching, officers said.

"We know that this is a busy holiday, and we will be on the lookout for impaired drivers," said Lawrence Police Sgt. Mike Pattrick.

Lawrence and area bars are gearing up for a big night, as well.

"We always have a packed house," said Eric Collins, bar manager at The Jazzhaus, 926 1/2 Mass., where the Majestics Rhythm Revue will start playing at 10 p.m.

As with most clubs, The Jazzhaus will stay open until about 2 a.m., the legal closing time. Last call will be about 1:45 p.m., Collins said.

Here is a roundup of party events planned at other Lawrence establishments:

  • Liberty Hall, 642 Mass., 9 p.m., Gourmet Mushroom X, Chubby Smith 5, The Naildrivers and Living Roadkill.
  • The Bottleneck, 737 N.H., 10 p.m., Split Lip Rayfield, Forty Twenty.
  • Louise's Bar, 1009 Mass., 10 p.m., Arthur Dodge and the Horsefeathers.
  • Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread Ave., 8 p.m. Pretty Polly. Dinner and wine will be served with fees ranging from $100 to $300.
  • New Year's at Abe and Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., a disc jockey begins playing music after 7 p.m.l There also is a party option for younger revelers. Children ages 5 through 12 can celebrate the new year with an all-night cosmic bowling party sponsored by Lawrence Parks & Recreation and Royal Crest Lanes.

The night's events will feature a variety of games, putt-putt golf, video games, videos and cosmic bowling. Children, along with adult supervisors, will spend the night at Royal Crest, Ninth and Iowa streets in the Hillcrest Shopping Center.

The celebration will start at 8 p.m. at Holcom Park Recreation Center and end at 12:30 a.m. The group will be taken by bus to Royal Crest, where it will spend the night until 8 a.m. Thursday. Those participating should bring sleeping bags and pillows. The cost for attending the party is $35 per person.

Doors will be locked at 9 p.m. at the recreation center, and no one will be allowed to leave.

The deadline for registration is 5 p.m. today. For more information, call 832-7940.


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