Prepare to party like it's 2013

By Genevieve Helliwell

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Music, fireworks and endless entertainment is being planned for the region's biggest party of the year-New Year.

Plans to farewell 2012 and welcome 2013 are under way, with the Tauranga City Council planning a beach extravaganza to celebrate the occasion.

Mount Maunganui's Main Beach will again be the hub of celebrations, with more than a week of activities confirmed leading up to the New Year celebration.

Council events delivery manager Penny Mitropoulos said plans were ''well under way'' for the New Year's Eve entertainment line-up, with a number of bands already confirmed to perform on the two stages set up at the Main Beach area.

Class acts Nine Mile Stone, Triple J and three-piece group Dead Found Followers from Auckland would rock the beach stage throughout the night.

''We're also really pleased to have two local bands, Eyes of May and the MSix, playing on the beach stage,'' Ms Mitropoulos said.

''Last year these two bands were voted first and second in the Tauranga Battle of the Bands competition. Due to the cancellation of the event last year they were unable to play, so we're thrilled to give them their chance this year.''

On New Year's Eve, revellers heading into Mount Maunganui will be able to use the Park n Ride service, which will operate off Hewletts Rd. Buses will also transport party-goers from various suburbs into the event zone.

Leading up to the big event, summer ambassadors will be on the beach, providing information, free giveaways and important summer messages to beach-goers.

During the day, the ambassadors will roam the area while the beach base will be a hive of activity during the summer.

The ambassador programme, to launch on December 22, would go for an extra week this year to capture the many families who poured into the area just after New Year celebrations, Ms Mitropoulos said.

The council had invited local businesses to get behind the summer festivities and donate items to be given away.

This year, MORE FM will be at the beach base presenting live on the radio, offering games for revellers as well as a free barbecue at midday in the picnic zone.

Ms Mitropoulos said everyone at the council had their fingers crossed for good weather this New Year break.

''We were so disappointed to have to cancel the event last year - the first time in 15 years - so we're hoping to have a lovely evening to see in the 2013 New Year.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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