Twenty Eighteen Countdown
Could Extra television tabloid host Mario Lopez, a.k.a. Slater on the NBC sitcom, Saved by the Bell, become Tampa’s own "Dick Clark?" The star chatted with hundreds of fans and posed for plenty of photos at the Twenty Eighteen Countdown on New Year’s Eve, counting the last 10 seconds of the year as an intense fireworks display erupted and a giant mirror ball flew up a flagpole.
"Mario’s already talking about coming back next year," said Mike Piper, president of Pied Piper Productions, the event company behind the annual blowout. The 1,400 celebrants downed unlimited, premium drinks and danced to DJ Magic Mike (Drop the Bass, Magic Mike Cutz The Record and Feel the Bass) till 2:30 a.m.
Moving the Dec. 31 champagne bash to TPepin’s Hospitality Centre greatly expanded the party space, said Piper, including an outdoor lounge and dance floor, plus allowed larger firework mortars. "Our previous 13 years at Jackson’s Bistro on Harbour Island were within Tampa General Hospital range," he said.
Tampa Theatre New Year’s Eve Wrap Party
Tampa Theatre CEO John Bell and a cast of staffers greeted the new year screening Back to the Future, rewinding time like Marty McFly (actor Michael J. Fox). Near midnight, they flipped to a live broadcast from Times Square and 170 movie-lovers ended 2017 in a shower of confetti at the second annual New Year’s Eve Wrap Party. All raved about the new seats and cool new concession counter.
The lobby of the historic theater became the Hill Valley High auditorium on the night of the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance. You know, the night Marty’s parents shared their first kiss in 1955. Party band IDK learned some of the movie’s classic songs like Johnny B. Goode and the Power of Love to dance out the year.
The Florida Aquarium immersed splashy Aqua Eve guests into its vast party ecosystem, scattering bars, buffets and bands between aquatic habitats New Year’s Eve. Musicians Taylor Reed, Trae Pierce & the T-Stones and Ari and the Alibis played indoors and out, entertaining the 950 party-goers, if not the 7,000 animals living above and below water.
At the stroke of midnight Dec. 31, Channel District fireworks bursting over the waterfront announced the arrival of 2018.
Rooftop Eve glammed up the top of Ft. Brooke Parking Garage in downtown Tampa when Big City Events carpeted and tented the huge space and filled it with VIP tables and cabanas for 2,000 partygoers sparkling like the endless champagne provided by founders Ferdian Jap, Jay Mize, Stephen Hickey and Monica Varner. Phase5 and DJ Papi rocked the rooftop; Tampa skyscrapers lit up the skyline backdrop, reflecting nearby fireworks for an All that Glitters is Gold theme. Proceeds from the Dec. 31 party will benefit the DeBartolo Family Foundation.