Festivities will continue all day and all night as the city that spawned 'Rocky' rocks its way into 2000. Got any extra sweats hidden away in your closet? If so, then pull them out on December 31 and head over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia's 24-hour New Year's Eve party will kick off with 2,000 Rocky Balboa impersonators charging up the steps made famous by the 1976 movie. The "Rocky Run" will start at 7 a.m that day. This cinematic tribute is the first of an extensive series of free events happening every hour -- including fireworks, parades, dance parties and a scrapple breakfast -- to celebrate the dawn of a new millennium. The non-profit organization Philadelphia 2000 has been organizing the party for over a year, according to Sponsorship Coordinator Amy Malerba, who said outgoing Mayor Ed Rendell wanted to see free festivities geared toward local residents. "What we're doing is a 24-hour event that highlights food, museums and parks," Malerba said, adding that one key goal of the event is "targeting [the] general public." The entire project will cost several million dollars, Malerba said. The events will be funded primarily by private contributions made by local companies and foundations. Malerba said the festivities are designed to appeal to a wide range of ages and interests. Family-oriented events during the morning include the planting of 2,000 trees in Fairmount Park and a costume party for kids at the Academy of Natural Sciences. In the afternoon, wedding bells will chime as Rendell and his wife Marjorie, a University Trustee and federal appellate judge, will marry 1,000 couples at 2 p.m. in the Convention Center. "We already have 2,000 people for the wedding," Malerba said. As the evening approaches, the celebration will brighten the night sky with several permanent light displays. The seven bridges across the Schuylkill River will be lit up and the statue of William Penn atop City Hall will also be illuminated. Malerba said this New Year's event will benefit the city throughout the next century. "Keeping in mind that the Republican Convention is coming? [lighting bridges] is one way to make the city welcoming and beautiful," Malerba said. The light extravaganza will also continue later in the night. When the clock strikes midnight, fireworks will explode across the sky in a display Rendell called "the biggest fireworks show of the century." And the New Year's madness will rage on well after midnight, with a block party on South Street, a scrapple breakfast for 2,000 and a traditional Philadelphia mummers parade. Malerba said it is hard to gauge exactly how many people will come to the party, but organizers are estimating several thousand revelers for each event. Unfortunately, one Philadelphia favorite will not be getting down in the City of Brotherly Love for the millennium. "[Sylvester Stallone] can't be in town," Malerba said. "He's going away with his family." However, the runners will view a pre-taped New Year's welcoming and kickoff speech from the original Rocky himself.Comments powered by Disqus
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