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Organizers so far pleased with response to EVE celebration

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The celebration is warming up in downtown Salt Lake. It's the final night of EVE -- the three-day event organized to help Utahns ring in the new year.

There have been outside "ohhs" and inside "ahhs," but the biggest bang of EVE happens Thursday at the stroke of midnight.

"We're going to take the entire 10-minute firework show and shoot the whole thing off in 90 seconds," says EVE artistic director Jeffrey Burke.

The fireworks will be launched off a downtown skyscraper, making the light show hard to miss no matter where you are in the city.

"This is going to be the place in Utah to ring in the new year," says Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance.

Organizers are expecting about 10,000 people in their 14 venues Thursday night, and they say there will be something for everyone: music, art, movies, fire dancers, even a battle of the cover bands on Pierpont.

"Ask yourself: When was the last time you had a chance to see Kiss on stage live, followed by U2, followed by Nirvana?" And you can do that here tonight," says EVE's entertainment director, Chris Condie.

So far, organizers estimate the first two days have brought in between 3,000 to 5,000 people. They hope to see the numbers rise in years to come, with the hope of someday making EVE a celebration that attracts people from around world -- the idea being they can ski during the day and party at night.

"We are very, very pleased with how things have gone so far," Mathis says.

And everyone hopes the location will mean more money and more recognition to businesses in downtown Salt Lake.

"The economy right now is really what prompted us to do this," Mathis says. "We wanted to give people something to be optimistic about, to be enthusiastic about."

This year, organizers say EVE has had good out-of-state attendance -- half of ticket sales the first day went to people not in Utah. Also, several downtown hotels have sold out of EVE "Stay and Play" packages.


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Sarah Dallof


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