BRADENTON -- Old Main Street was jam-packed hours before the ball dropped.
Sam Woolf fans came out in full force as the "American Idol" finalist took to the stage at 7 p.m. as the night's main opening act to local band Big Daddy.
For Abby Shelton, 12, seeing and meeting Sam Woolf was a big New Year's Eve surprise for her and her sister.
"I had no idea," the fan squealed. "She told me you have to look nice for pictures."
Mother Erin Shelton decided to visit Bradenton, where her daughters were born, for the holidays and learned Woolf was performing. She decided it would be a nice surprise for her girls who are big fans.
Thousands filtered into downtown Bradenton to bring in 2015.
The young Woolfpack weren't the only ones enjoying his music.
Tammy Ramsey, 57, was enjoying the performance with her honey and another couple, she said.
"I think he's good," she said.
Ramsey followed Woolf during his time on "American Idol," she added.
The overall event, however, is what brought her out, having attended other downtown events before.
"I think they are great," she said.
Gary Balduff, who splits his time between Bradenton and Ohio, said he was also enjoying the music.
"This is really different," he said of the event. "The food, the booze and everything is great." Besides Woolf, another local young talent from the Del Couch Music Education Foundation took the stage New Year's Eve. Eliza Lipton, 14, pumped the crowd up before Woolf came on.
Eliza, a student at Manatee School for the Arts, said she was nervous and excited as she awaited her first time taking the stage at a downtown event. Having opened for Woolf before, she said she
was happy when asked to perform New Year's Eve.
"I love singing and I love when I get to perform in front of crowds of people," Eliza said.
Ten-year-old Gabriel Storm dazzled the audience with his gyrating hips to Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." He impressed the crowd with his rendition of "Fools Rush In" as he gave the "ladies" in front of the stage roses and teddy bears.
In addition to the music, many families said they came out for the food and games.
Ian Kopccynski, 11, watched alongside his mother as his brother had his turn on the bungee jump.
"It was fun," Ian said of the bungee jump. He added he was "not at all scared."
The family, from Shavertown, Pa., owns a second home in Bradenton.
His mother, Marzena Kopccynski, said she loved the event because it featured live music, atmosphere, great food and entertainment for the children.
"We love Main Street," she said. "We love Bradenton."
This was the family's third time celebrating New Year's Eve here, she said.
"We are going to be here next year," she added.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.