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News 8 Throwback: A look back at New Year's Eve celebrations throughout the decades

As we say goodbye to 2021, News 8 wants to wish you all a safe and healthy New Year!
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — As we get ready to say farewell, so long, buh bye, to 2021 -- let’s turn the clock way back to see how San Diegans celebrated New Year’s Eve throughout the decades.

New Year's Eve 1960 San Diego Preps

The ballrooms of The U.S. Grant Hotel and El Cortez were getting prepped for the big night to usher in 1961. Two thousand people were expected to attend the party at El Cortez. In Point Loma, men were picking up bottles of booze at Mike Slattery’s Bottle Barn on Lytton Street.

San Diego says goodbye to the '70s on New Year's Eve in 1979

News 8 looked at how San Diego was saying goodbye to the '70s on New Year's Eve. Mission Valley's Crystal T's Emporium charged $6 to get in. That was cheap though as other establishments were said to be charging $15 or more. This was the place to go if you were a disco fan. These people danced the night away, unaware that disco's days were numbered, as its popularity began to fade in the 1980s. As typical on New Year's Eve, not everyone was having a good time. Reporter Dave Cohen said there were a few public drunkenness arrests earlier in the evening.

New Year's Eve Ideas 1981

There’s probably no better place to ring in the New Year than the gorgeous, historic Hotel del Coronado. It cost $62.50 a person for the dinner party and champagne and $115 to attend the party, spend the night, and enjoy their legendary brunch -- double occupancy. Another fancy affair was at The Westgate where a five-course dinner and a split of champagne at midnight cost $70 per person and $125 per person to spend the night and enjoy brunch. For a more casual affair, Patrick’s II downtown was free. News 8’s Ann Shaw said that despite a sluggish economy, San Diegans were in a partying mood.

New Year's Eve San Diego 1990s

Some of the largest parties were held at the Convention Center and the Hyatt Aventine.

Thousands attended them so if you didn’t want to lose the friends you went with, you had to stick together. No cellphones so you couldn’t call a friend if you got lost in the crowd. The people in our videos are having a blast partying it up 90s style, grooving to live music and dancing the night away.

New Year's Eve at The Aventine 2001

Around 3,000 people attended the fifth annual Times Square West party at the Aventine. Security was tight as management took extra steps to keep everyone safe. Music for all tastes kept the crowds dancing. Jazz artists Pancho Sanchez and Rick Braun performed. At midnight a 15-minute choreographed show that included pyrotechnics, lasers, video screens, contemporary soundtrack and 500 pounds of confetti shot from cannons and the West Coast version of the ball lowered from the 16th floor of the Hyatt Regency. A spectacular scene indeed. A party representative summed up the goal of the evening to News 8’s Dan Shadwell “Forgetting some of the heaviness of this year and getting into the lightheartedness and celebrating, because we got plenty to celebrate.” 

In 2020 we can certainly relate to this sentiment. When we say, “Happy New Year!” at midnight tonight, may it ring true in 2021.

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