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SALT LAKE CITY -- Tuesday night is the first night of Eve, the new downtown celebration to ring in 2010. The party lasts three days and provides more activities at different venues around Salt Lake.
Rail Jam helps kick off new year celebration
One of the highlights of the celebration is the Rail Jam, where 60 world-class skiers and snowboarders showed off their moves Tuesday to help kick-off the celebration.
Despite the snow already falling earlier in the day Tuesday, the new rail jam needed even more. Nearly 60 tons of snow had to be trucked in to build the ski and snowboarding platform.
Downtown Alliance Executive Director Jason Mathis said the winter sports demonstrations taking place at the Gallivan Plaza -- along with all the other concerts, shows, and activities over three days -- will hopefully bring back the Olympic feeling with thousands walking the downtown.
He also wants to put more emphasis on Salt Lake's connection to the ski industry and points out a lot of other so-called "ski towns" have nowhere near the accessibility to ski resorts as Salt Lake City does.
"Downtown really is a ski town, and we need to take advantage of that and help locals to feel pride in it," Mathis said.
Businesses hope to profit from 3-day event
Organizers say new events and the extended three-day period should bring tens of thousands to the area, and local businesses plan to benefit. Other big draws: admission is only $15, and there's more time to enjoy the festivities.
"It makes it so I can do more things, so I don't have to rush around," said partygoer Kami Escamilla. "It gets really crowded during First Night, so it's nice to be a little more relaxed."Party-goer Cindy Butters said, "We're glad it's over three days so we have more time to come and play, and it's not a big crowd like on New Year's Eve." That's exactly what organizers hoped for when they expanded the celebration: getting more people into surrounding restaurants, shops and hotels.
"This opens doors to businesses, increases foot traffic [it's] basically tripling foot traffic for downtown businesses to succeed," said Mathis.
The new restaurant Eva's, on Main Street, is hoping to benefit.
"I think business will definitely go up. It's been a really busy week. Christmas was really good for us," said Eva's chef Charlie Perry.
Just a few blocks away, business owners are excited Eve has activities all over town, including the Gateway and the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Right across the street, Squatters Brew Pub is preparing for business they didn't used to get when it was First Night.
"They're trying to spread it out outside of the very downtown block that it was centered at, just around Gallivan Center. So, we definitely think we're going to get more business up and down this street," said manager Doug Hofeling.
Transportation specials and other discounts
If you plan to drive your car to the events, parking meters will remain free on the streets.
"We also have several lots that have donated free parking for people coming down to EVE," said Mathis.
On Dec. 31, TRAX is free around downtown for EVE goers. [CLICK HERE to view more of UTA's holiday service and Eve celebration information]
Many of the downtown restaurants and hotels are also offering deals for those with EVE wristbands. [CLICK HERE for more information]