Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee
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Countdown to 2014 in Memphis & West Tennessee!

The way I see it, New Year’s Eve celebrations tend to fall into one of four categories: (1) the touchdown party, (2) the street party, (3) the dance party and (4) the couch party, a wide net catching all those who prefer feasting, fire-working and fixating on the ball drop from home. However you want to say hello to 2014, West Tennessee’s got you covered:

1. The touchdown party: The 55th AutoZone Liberty Bowl kicks off Dec. 31, 2013 at 3 p.m. CST, matching Mississippi State against Conference USA champion Rice. The game takes place inside Memphis’ Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, which means that tailgating – including tailgating along University of Memphis’ Tiger Lane – is on. But it would be a shame to come to town just for the football: Dec. 30 at 3 p.m., watch as floats, bands and marching groups parade down Beale Street. A pep rally takes over Handy Park at 5 p.m. following the parade.

Catch the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 31 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Photo by Andrea Zucker. Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Catch the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 31 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Photo by Andrea Zucker. Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

2. The street party: It has to be Beale Street, where neon and revelry are perpetually à propos. Hard Rock Café Memphis always makes a solid home base, with live music from 9 p.m. on, a good view to the Guitar Drop and a reasonable cover ($10 advance purchase). This year, eye for the guitar’s exclusive artwork celebrating the 60th anniversary of rock ‘n’ roll (Elvis Presley recorded “That’s All Right” in 1964) and splurge for the $60 Elvis VIP pass, which includes dinner, VIP access at the Guitar Drop and a Platinum Tour pass to Graceland. Call 901-529-0007 or go here for Hard Rock New Year’s Eve ticketing information.

The neon, the energy, the music...Beale Street and New Year's Eve fit together like old friends. Photo by Troy Glasgow. Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

The midnight Guitar Drop on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Troy Glasgow. Copyright © Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2011 All Rights Reserved.

3. The dance parties: If you don’t equate state parks with dance parties, you don’t know Paris Landing or Pickwick. Annually on New Year’s Eve, these Tennessee state parks throw it down with live music, accommodation packages, food and drink. This year, friends of Paris Landing State Park will host Memphis band Syndicate of Soul from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (call 731-642-4311 for event and package information); Pickwick Landing will wrap musical entertainment, one night of accommodations, dinner, a midnight toast, party favors and New Year’s Day Brunch into one festive package. Call 800-552-3866 to RSVP or request more information.

Lights along Pickwick Landing. Looks like a natural New Year's Eve party spot, no? Photo courtesy of Tennessee State Parks.

Lights along Pickwick Landing. Looks like a natural New Year’s Eve party spot, no? Photo courtesy of Tennessee State Parks.

4. The couch party: There’s no shame in celebrating low-key, though you might feel guilty considering what’s going down in Paris, Tennessee, on New Year’s Day: Shiver on the River, now in its fifth year, dares individuals to plunge into the frigid water surrounding the Paris Landing State Park Marina boat ramp. The $25 registration fee covers an event t-shirt and lunch at the Paris Landing Inn immediately following the plunge, and trophies are awarded for the most outrageous costume and most money raised (Shiver on the River benefits Paris’ R.E.A.L. Hope Youth Center). Should you dare to get off the couch, come on out and watch – or take the plunge yourself. Registration begins at noon on Jan. 1, 2014, with the plunge following at 1 p.m. Call 731-333-1320 or go here for more information.

At Shiver on the River 2012, Donna Craig and Jamie Miles won “Most Outrageous Costume” for “Catch of the Day.” Photo courtesy of Shiver on the River.

How will you celebrate the new year in Tennessee? Tell us in the comments section below.

Hi! I’m Samantha Crespo, and I am Floridian by birth, Tennessean by heart. Growing up, I vacationed in East Tennessee, so I...Read on

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