Chicago readies for New Year

January 1, 2013 2:59:52 AM PST
With the countdown to 2013 on, New Year's Eve celebrations were in high gear all over the Chicago area Monday.

Fireworks lit up the night sky over navy pier Monday night. It was first of two displays on New Year's Eve and specifically aimed at families wanting to share the holiday with their children. Thousands came out to enjoy the show.

"It was awesome," said Jesus Villalobos. "They put on a really good show. We've seen a bunch of shows other places. One of thebest we've seen."

At the Brookfield Zoo, another family-friendly celebration included a DJ for the little ones and ice carving demonstrations. All of it set in the midst of one million twinkling lights.

"I'm always used to doing the adult party thing and leaving the girls," said Deborah Lewis. "That's why this year I'm celebrating with the girls this year."

And of course, it would not be New Year's Eve without a lavish, over the top hotel party. At the Palmer House Hilton, planning for the menu alone started four months ago. Monday afternoon the freezers were packed with decadent desserts while 120 cases of bubbly were on hand for the 3,000 plus guests expected.

"It's phenomenal," said executive chef Stephen Henry. "It's a beautiful hotel, the ballroom is gorgeous and really lends itself for the party. Everybody knows the Palmer House. It's a hotel known around the world. And we're very very proud."