The new year was welcomed with style as the Best Western Lafayette Gardens Inn hosted two different celebrations that had party-goers dancing their way into 2013. The band Barstool Prophets was featured at the inn’s cocktail lounge while Reason Why was featured in the ballroom.
Earlier in the day, Granger Inns Inc., the parent company of the Best Western Lafayette Garden Inn, Managing Partner Scott Malone attended to the final details for the year-end celebrations.
“We always do a New Year’s Eve party but this year is the first time we have two different bands playing in the two different areas. A lot of people are excited about putting 2012 behind them and ringing in 2013,” Malone said. “We are all really optimistic about this new year.”
The Barstool Prophets have a large following and are quite a popular band. Between sets, band members C.J. Johnson and Brock Umfress described their band’s musical style.
“We are a down-home, southern-fried, blues, funk and soul band, and we just love to play at New Year’s Eve parties,” Johnson said. “I hope in 2013 we have a chance to do more charity work and help people who need it.”
“I don’t want a whole lot, just want to keep breathing and taking care of my kids,” Umfress said.
It wasn’t long before their break was over when they joined the other members of their band, Beau Carper, Terry Brown, Lanier Keith and Jayson Wilson to get the crowd in the lounge rocking again.
People in the lounge were optimistic about what 2013 would bring to them.
Terrie Holcombe, along with her best friend Georgann Richards, were there to listen to the band and bring in the new year together.
“I just recently moved back to LaGrange, so for 2013 I am looking forward to spending more time with my grandchildren and my family,” Holcombe said.
Eric Bennett, who three months ago had open heart surgery, proudly pulled his shirt up to reveal the still-red scar running through the upper portion of his chest.
“I am looking forward to getting healthier. What got me through all of this is the support of my family and friends and the great doctors at Emory,” Bennett said.
In the ballroom the music had more of a rock ‘n’ roll and oldies flavor, but also had a core following of loyal fans. Reasons Why is a band who has its roots deep in LaGrange and was originally formed 40 years ago when two of the members were back in high school. Russ Everitt, Greg Gregory, Wesley Long, Sam Thrower, James Furgerson, Ronnie Everitt and Robin Treadwell had the crowd up on their feet dancing throughout the night.
Debbie Hartman was there with her husband, Mickey, and a few of her friends, including Elizabeth Gunn. Hartman makes it her business to attend events where the band is playing.
“I went to school with three of the original members and when they got back together about three years ago, one of the members emailed me to let me know and I have been following them ever since,” Hartman said.
In 2013, Hartman is also looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren while Gunn is expecting her first grandchild on June 21.
Over to one side of the room Susan Allen and Donell Turner were keeping track of the time and taking a short break from dancing.
“When this band plays, I like to be here to listen to them. I grew up with some of the guys and it’s fun to see them,” Allen said. “We always feel comfortable here, we never have to worry about being hassled.”
While Allen is looking forward to the birth of her first granddaughter in February, Turner is hoping that the economy will get better this year.
Carson Daly’s Times Square New Year’s Eve show was on a big screen, which featured the “official” countdown for the more than 100 guests in the ballroom to the big moment. Champagne glasses were filled and given to each one of the guests until 2013 was welcomed in with the roar of horns, shouting and much kissing and clinging of glasses. The band then led the group in singing “Old Lang Syne” as “Happy New Year” wishes were given and glasses were raised.
Event manager Tony Hardy’s careful attention to all the details of the evening paid off for all. Couples and friends welcomed in 2013 by enjoying music, food and drink, with warm wishes for the new year.