Ring in 2013 in style across East Tennessee

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- There's lots of fun for the whole family to ring in the New Year around East Tennessee.

In Knoxville, things kicked off on Market Square around 1:00 Monday afternoon, with food from several vendors, face painting, ice skating and bungee jumping. The ice rink stays open until midnight. It's free to skate or $10 for those who need to rent skates. All merchants and restaurants will be open late, and parking is free in all city garages.

At 11, there will be music along with a big screen showing events from the past year. Then, the countdown to 2013 starts at 11:59 pm, accompanied by fireworks.

For those looking for a big time celebration with tens of thousands of people, head on over to Gatlinburg for the 25th annual New Year's Eve Ball Drop in the heart of the Smokies. The party goes all day, but come nightfall, the city will be lit up thanks to the glorious glow of the Space Needle. A ball drops from there, along with a choreographed firework show.

The ball drop and fireworks are free, but there are some dinner package deals to take advantage of at popular hot spots like Mellow Mushroom, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and TGIFridays.

There are also plenty of other events to suit everyone's taste. The Knoxville Museum of Art features dinner and dancing from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am. Blues band Jenna and Her Cool Friends provide entertainment. It costs $30 per person. Or hop on board the Volunteer Princess for a cruise at either 6:00 pm or 9:30 pm, including dinner, a live band and dancing. Tickets cost $69.95.

If swing dancing is better suited, head over to the O'Connor Senior Center at 9:30 to hear the Mood Swing band play for just $10 at the door. And in Tellico, folks can head over to the Tellico West Conference Center starting at 8:30 to enjoy a champagne toast, food, music and more fun. Tickets are $45 per person.

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