Houston rings in 2012 with downtown celebration

December 31, 2011 11:49:15 PM PST
Houstonians were invited to a big party Saturday night at Discovery Green in downtown Houston to celebrate the new year.

An outrageous 3D light show entertained the crowd, and the highlight of the night was the parade by the Glo Krewe from the art car collection. No other celebration in the country includes this dazzling array of original, rolling illuminated sculptures.

Houstonian and inspirational rapper Baby Jay took the stage and country music star Delbert McClinton headlined the show.

More than 25,000 people showed up for this year's celebration.

At midnight, revelers welcomed 2012 with a countdown and fireworks off the top of the George R. Brown Convention Center.

This is the first time in 25 years that fireworks have been shot off the convention center's roof.

The event also included magicians, jugglers and even pets on wheels.

"We really wanted it to be something that was Houston-centric. Wanted it to be cool and fun and unlike other cities. Something that we could say, 'This is our own. This is very Houston.' I think we've done a great job with that," Angie Bertinot said.

Of course, not everyone went out to Discovery Green. We found many out buying balloons for their own parties Saturday.

At Party Boy near The Heights, they told us they inflated more than 2,500 balloons on Saturday alone. Business was also booming at fireworks stands around the greater Houston area as folks spent hundreds of dollars on fireworks to shoot off before, during and after midnight.

Despite the burn ban being lifted, authorities do caution that it is still illegal to shoot fireworks within the city limits and even in some locations around Harris County. Fines can range up to $2,000 each.

If you need help getting to or from your New Year's Eve party, METRO is offering a safe alternative to driving. They're providing rides for free to help everyone get home safely. It ends at 6am Sunday on both the bus and rail system.

Another alternative for intoxicated New Year's revelers this holiday weekend is the AAA Tipsy Tow program. AAA is offering to tow drivers and their vehicles for free up to 10 miles. Drivers would have to pay for any distance past the initial 10 miles. The service is open to the public. You do not have to be a AAA member to take part in the program. Tipsy Tow runs through 6am Sunday. Motorists can call 1-800-TRIPLE-A (1-800-874-7532) for a lift.

If you were at New Year's Eve Live and took photos, we want to see them! Send your pictures to news@abc13.com or upload them here and we'll post them online!