If you’re sticking around the Bradenton-Sarasota area to ring in the New Year, local law enforcement officials and the Florida Highway Patrol have some tips and notices to celebrate 2017 safely.
Before heading out, it’s always a good idea to make a plan. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office suggests creating a meeting place in case someone in the group gets lost, parking in well-lighted areas and hiding valuables from sight. Also, keep a charged phone in case there’s an emergency.
When ringing in the New Year with kids, the sheriff’s office suggests taking a picture of them before your night starts in case they get lost, as well as writing down contact information to stick in the child’s pocket.
Light up the sky, safely
The law of gravity dictates that what goes up, must come down; the same goes for fireworks and bullets fired in the air. Local law enforcement warns that those thinking of shooting a gun into the air shouldn’t, as the results could be fatal. “Violators can expect to be arrested,” the Sarasota Police Department said.
The University of Florida’s IFAS extension suggests keeping water or a fire extinguisher nearby, even when just using sparklers. They also suggest keeping kids away from fireworks and not using homemade explosives.
Drinking and driving a no-no
If you do drink and don’t want to land in jail, or worse, law enforcement suggests keeping a local cab company number handy, making sure you choose a designated driver ahead of time, or take advantage of AAA’s “Tow to Go” service for up to two people by calling 855-286-9246.
The Florida Highway Patrol will conduct its DUI Wolfpack Operation from 9 p.m. Saturday through 5 a.m. Sunday in Manatee, Sarasota, Highlands, Hardee and Desoto counties.
The operation focuses on Interstate 75 and other major state and county highways to pluck drunken drivers from the roads.
Traffic units with the Manatee County and Sarasota County sheriff’s offices will also add deputies out on the roads for DUI patrol.
Bradenton will close Old Main Street on Saturday, first for the Downtown Farmers Market, then for the NewYear’s Eve party at 3:30 p.m. until after midnight. Events start around 5 p.m.
The Sarasota Police Department listed portions of five streets in downtown Sarasota that will be closed from 6 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday for the Pineapple Drop.
- Central Avenue, from Main Street to First Street
- First Street, from Central Avenue to Pineapple Avenue
- Pineapple Avenue, from First Street to Main Street
- Lemon Avenue, from Main Street to First Street and from Main Street to State Street
- Main Street, from Orange Avenue to Central Avenue