Preparations underway for New Year's Eve

December 29, 2009 (CHICAGO) If you have yet to make your plans, don't worry there is still time and for the most part availability.

We've heard seemingly endless references to the economy and how it's affecting everything this year, but we're finding people still want to celebrate the end of the year and the decade. And they are getting some good deals.

Even before New Year's Eve, for many the annual Eve of the Eve party at Union Station has become a tradition.

Tuesday night, staff members and volunteers for HighSight were making final preparations for their biggest fundraiser of the year.

"People maybe are looking support an event that supports an organization. I find that in this economy people want to support a cause and still have a great time," said Melinda Green, HighSight.

This year's calendar is slowing ticket sales for the Eve of the Eve, which falls on Wednesday, but it's benefitting many hotel operators, who are booking partygoers for long weekends starting on Thursday night.

The Hyatt McCormick Place will likely be sold out.

"They're able to leave work early on the 31st, take the 1st off, and make a long weekend of it, and not worry about breaking up the week. That plays in our favor for 2010," said Erin Cook, sales manager, Hyatt McCormick Place.

Many restaurants are also offering good deals in hopes of selling lots of tickets. River North's Bin 36 is charging $100 for the whole package.

"All your drinks, the midnight toast, all your food, we're going to have for you coffee and donuts when you leave," said John Caputo, executive chef, Bin 36.

New Year's Eve can be a time not only for celebration but also reflection.

"Basically it's about cleaning house and starting fresh," Tara Jones said.

Many people prefer smaller parties at home which can be less expensive and more low key, but not too low key. Party City is doing brisk business.

"Party poppers, noisemakers, all different assortments," said Joe Guzman, Party City.

Liquor stores are also doing good business, selling sparkling wines and champagne, although most people are keeping to a budget.

"Everybody's trying to save a buck. SO there's certainly people who are going for broke and doing that $50, $100 bottle, but most guys are going, 'what can I get that's good but $20 or less,'" said Don Sheil, Binny's Wine Manager.

Sheil says you can find some pretty good champagnes or sparkling wines within that budget. As for most of the parties, including Wednesday night's Eve of the Eve, tickets are still available and will be on sale at the door. That may be a good idea because you can have the big party experience Wednesday night, then stay home and watch Dick Clark on New Year's Eve.

You can also ring in the new year with ABC7. Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies will co-host Countdown Chicago 2010 Thursday beginning at 11:08 p.m.

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