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City to throw scaled-back New Year's Eve party

Family-friendly event replaces extravagant First Night parties of past years.

Cristina Peña

The City of Austin unveiled plans Friday for a free, scaled-back New Year's Eve celebration at Auditorium Shores that will include bands and a fireworks display. It will not include the parades and elaborate art installations of some First Nights of past years.

The city has taken over the New Year's Eve celebration with a $50,000 budget, much more modest than First Night spending in previous years. Budget cuts also led to the cancellation this year of the popular Trail of Lights at Zilker Park.

Still, city leaders say there will be plenty to celebrate. The family-friendly, alcohol-free New Year's Eve event, which will run from 5 to 10:30 p.m., will be called Austin's New Year, with the slogan, "Any one, any dream, anything's possible."

The band lineup: the Biscuit Brothers, Mother Falcon, Lannaya West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Tje Austin and Charanga Cakewalk . The event will also include local food vendors, fire dancers, a Chinese dance troupe and a circus stage.

Short films about Austin by local filmmakers will be shown on a big screen.

A brief fireworks show will begin at 10:15 p.m.

City leaders also announced holiday film screenings at Republic Square Park downtown on Dec. 16. The Community Entertainment Stage will run nightly from Dec. 12 to 20 at the Zilker Hillside Theatre.

In addition, a 12-minute "light and sound experience" will run Dec. 15 to 23 at the Zilker Tree, which will be lighted Sunday.

"This community has come together, and I have no doubt that this will be one of the best holiday seasons this community has ever seen," Council Member Randi Shade said.

cpena@statesman.com