Hello, 2024! San Francisco gets ready to ring in the new year

ByTara Campbell and Cornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, January 1, 2024
SF New Year celebrations underway with those local and from abroad
From San Jose to Spain, thousands flocked to San Francisco to ring in the New Year -- Bay Area style.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Bay Area is ready to ring out the old and ring in the new year.

Fireworks will light up the skies over San Francisco's waterfront at midnight.

"Spectacular as always. We do our best to amaze," said Pat Dyas from Pyro Spectaculars by Souza.

Pyrotechnics expert Dyas says his crew was busy loading mortar shells on a barge for the New Year's Eve fireworks show. They'll be launched about a thousand feet from the Ferry Building. Dyas believes the weather will cooperate.

The Bay Area is ready to ring out the old and ring in the new year.

"It just seems like, given the fact we get fog, it seems like people of San Francisco appreciate what we do more, especially when we have good weather," Dyas said

An early "Noon Year's Eve" celebration was hosted by the Warriors at Thrive City for families who can't stay up until midnight.

An ancient Bell was chiming inside the Asian Art Museum, a New Year's Eve tradition for 38 years. The public was invited to ring the bell. According to Buddhist teachings, the bell is rung more than 100 times before midnight to purge vices and bad luck.

"So on New Year's Eve, you will ring the bell 109 times as a time of reflection and let it all go," said Eri Takahashi from Oakland Zen Center.

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From street vendors to selfies, New Year's Eve celebrations were well underway in San Francisco once the night hit.

"Yeah, it's like, why not? Why not get out celebrate the New Year with the perfect vibe," said San Francisco resident Anshul Jain.

"We wanted to do something special for the holiday and what's better than coming back to our old hometown and enjoying the fireworks?" said San Jose resident Robert Zhang.

People streaming onto the Embarcadero in anticipation of the night's fireworks.

"You have to be here early, you know. You get the best part to see the fireworks, otherwise it'll be too crowded," said SF resident Rishika Thumula.

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And this crowd was happy to put the COVID-19 pandemic behind them.

"COVID's over, and we haven't been out for a while. You know, more or less celebrating since it's been cooped up for a long time in the house," said SF resident Nikki Landayan.

It's always a tradition for me coming here to the ferry building for New Year's years from that ever since well, right before COVID started. So this is the first time back. It's really exciting," said Winton Yu.

From San Francisco to the South of Spain, locals and tourists alike, ready to ring in the New Year.

"So it's very cool. It's very different from Spain," said Ivan Cuevas.

"Really a very cosmopolitan city. We can see people from all the nationalities from all around the world here. It's beautiful. And I think it's really I like it," said Martha Garcia, who was also visiting from Spain.

And on this New Year's Eve San Francisco police is upping its presence.

This week, ABC7 News obtained a threat assessment from the FBI, flagging San Francisco as an "attractive target" for would-be attackers, due to planned New Year's Eve celebrations. Police officals say while there is no credible threat, the department is prepared.

"There'll be additional officers out at venues, like the fireworks show at Embarcadero. We'll have officers out around the city," said Assistant SFPD Chief David Lazar.

"Yeah, I think safety is number one, but also probably just having common sense," Zhang said.

"It certainly does come to mind that something could happen. But I think it's good to be cautious. But, also, it shouldn't stop you from having fun and enjoying your city," Yu said.

Many hope that 2024 brings good things.

"I hope we are healthy and have a wonderful new year," said Shelly Zheu.

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