BRADENTON -- Old Main Street Merchants Association officials said they're expecting this year's celebration will ring in 2015 with their biggest New Year's party ever.
"We had between 4,000 and 5,000 people last year," said association President Rick Willats, who owns O'Bricks Irish Pub and Martini Bar. "It'll probably be even bigger this year because of Sam Woolf."
Woolf, who finished fifth in the 2013-14 season of "American Idol," is slated to play original songs from his first extended play, a mini-album called "Pretend," from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday.
Old Main Street will officially shut down at 3:30 p.m. for the party, which runs until 2 a.m. Thursday.
The bars on Old Main are preparing for the fifth annual New Year's bash with plenty of staff, security and, of course, alcohol.
"We're stocked to the gills on beer, liquor, you name it," said Jason Nealy, a bartender for the Old Main Pub.
"Our main concern is making sure we have enough booze on hand," said Paul Kotlarczyk, owner of the Loaded Barrel, with a laugh.
Joey Bennett, who works with Eighty Eight and is the event co
ordinator for the merchants association, said they'll offer a champagne toast at midnight when the ball drops and they're setting up an ice luge outside the bar.
"We're completely stocked up, and we're offering our usual power hour from 10 to 11 p.m. with $2 domestic beer and $3 shots," Bennett said.
Bennett said four bars will set up outside.
Bennett said about 35 vendors will offer games; rides and food, including a rock wall; bungee jump; ball games; sand art; and face painting.
Willats said the Del Couch Music Education Foundation might have someone come on before Woolf at 7 p.m. and Big Daddy will play after from 8 p.m. to midnight. The ball drop will occur right behind the stage.
"It was phenomenal last year," Willats said. "It's a sea of people, but there's still plenty of room to move around and it's not overcrowded. It's just a fun place to be."