San Francisco welcomes 2009

December 31, 2008 11:41:51 PM PST
2008 has been difficult for so many people and many say they're ready for a change. Fireworks on the bay was certainly a popular event to see on New Year's Eve, as crowds of people walked along the Embarcadero. One reason it was so popular is because of the price -- free.

The San Francisco celebration was a no alcohol zone. Police made five drunk in public arrests by 11p.m. on New Year's Eve as everyone waited for the fireworks.

You could see it their faces, people are ready for 2009.

"It's our first new year in San Francisco. Usually we stay at home," said Shawnte Brown.

Brown and his daughter, Amaya, were contemplating hitting the ice at the rink on the Embarcadero. The brutal economic conditions of 2008 made them change up their plans a little bit to celebrate 2009.

"We left the car at home and we caught BART out here. So we're trying to save some money," said Brown.

Police were getting ready for the big crowds that showed up along the Embarcadero. Ice skating was a popular way to spend the night. Philip Maes just moved to the Bay Area from Minnesota.

"Normally we fight the cold and the bitter winders, so this is nice to be in a warmer climate for New Year's Eve. We came from Fremont on the BART which was fairly inexpensive and we'll go back on the BART. We had dinner in Fremont at a reasonably-priced restaurant and we'll just enjoy our time here and it is going to be a very economical new year for us," said Philip Maes, from Fremont.

Tickets were $200 each at Harry Denton's Starlight Room. The event sold out two weeks ago.

"We have a full buffet dinner, we have a Fred Ross and the Band and people are going to be partying and dancing and looking good, and I'm going to make sure everyone has a blast," said Harry Denton.

Despite the tough economy, many people are celebrating a successful 2008 and are hoping for more of the same in 2009.

There's apparently still a market for high priced new year's eve parties. Up on nob hill, the fairmont sold out all three parties... With some tickets selling for as high as 325 dollars a person. No matter what the price, the idea for tonight was to celebrate a new beginning.

"We have been so blessed. We had a wonderful 2008," said Billie Shoemaker, a Washington resident.

"2008 was fantastic and I can't wait for 2009," said Chad Shoemaker, a Washington resident.