New Year, new events, new image for Downtown Albany

After success with band "Drivin' N Cryin'" last year, the State Theater is hosting them again at their New Year's party

Downtown Albany has new plans for the new year, and Downtown Manager Aaron Blair says they're kicking 2011 off with the New Year's Eve Big Bash.

There isn't just one event â" there are three: Visitors can stop by the State Theater and Cafà 230 then end the night with fireworks at Riverfront Park, all to make one big New Year's celebration.

"We've team up with them to try to make a great time in downtown Albany," says Co-owner of Cafà 230 Sarah Edmonds.

Cafà 230 is testing the waters on nighttime entertainment with a band, hors d'oeuvers, drinks, champagne, and an all you can eat breakfast buffet at 1 a.m.

"They realize as well as some of the other merchants downtown that to be successful they have to be open at night," says Blair.

Edmonds says they hope to get close to 200 people at Cafà 230 for New Year's Eve. Tickets for their party are available at the restaurant in advance for $40 and are $50 at the door. You can call Cafà 230 for more information or ticket purchases at 229-435-7632.

"We hope we can prove that downtown Albany can have a safe, fun environment and just comfortable and everybody have a good time together and bring it back to life," says Edmonds.

The State Theater is continuing a tradition on New Year's as they celebrate their seventh anniversary, inviting back a native Georgian band.

"'Drivin' and Cryin' is back by popular demand. Last year they were here, they sounded great, the atmosphere was awesome and everybody agreed," says State Theater Co-owner Lane Rosen.

Tickets for the show are $15 in advance at Harvest Moon and Moe's Southwest Grill. Tickets are $20 at the State Theatre the night of the show. Call the State Theater at 229-344-2237 for more information.

Fireworks will light the sky over the Flint River at Riverfront Park starting at midnight, which Blair says will be a great family activity.

Blair says he gathered the three separate events together to help make the businesses successful.

He also says the New Years events are a marketing opportunity: People will experience Cafà 230, the State Theater and the rest of downtown Albany and what all it has to offer.

"We realize that if we could bring events together it would also provide an opportunity for people to see, 'Okay there's a couple of things going on downtown. We should go down there and check it out,'" says Blair.

Blair says he plans to grow the New Year's party to be a bigger celebration every year.