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Miami has its own fruit, The Big Orange, a neon citrus with a new animated face that will rise up the side of a downtown hotel as fireworks go off nearby. The town of Eastport, Maine, will lower an 8-foot-long wooden sardine from a downtown building at midnight, in celebration of its sardine canning and fishing history.
At the Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe, patrons will be able to walk an orange carpet, strike a pose and have their photo taken on their way into a party there.
And Las Vegas prepared to host hundreds of thousands of partiers on the Strip to welcome the year with rooftop fireworks, expensive celebrity-studded parties at nightclubs and an urge to bid adieu to 2011.
Several people preparing to celebrate the holiday told the AP that they would usher in the New Year hoping the U.S. Congress would become a more cooperative place. Some talked about their hopes for the presidential election. Others said they hoped to hold on to their job, or find a new one to replace one they’d lost.
An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted Dec. 8-12 found that 62 percent of Americans are optimistic that the nation’s fortunes would improve in 2012, and 78 percent hopeful that their own family would have a better year. Most wrote off 2011 as a dud.
Shahid Ahmad, 53, a sporting goods vendor who has set up in downtown Atlanta during big events for the last 13 years, said his last two New Year’s Eves have been slow in sales compared with years prior. He said he’s hopeful that the job market will improve in 2012.
"If you worked in corporate America and you lost that job, I promise you that level of expertise could be used in whatever community you’re from," said Ahmad, unfolding Braves, Falcons and Hawks T-shirts and hats. "You may not have the six-figure-plus salary, but you will be able to sustain."
Associated Press writers Chris Hawley in New York, Michael Kunzelman in New Orleans and Dorie Turner in Atlanta contributed to this report.
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