Phoenix area NYE celebrations underway after preps for the busy holiday weekend

New Year's Eve is here, and of course, our time zone is one of the last to celebrate when the clock strikes midnight. That also means authorities will be looking for drunk drivers.

With hours to spare, Phoenix area businesses finished up preps Saturday evening to welcome those wanting to celebrate the new year while out with others.

Tempe used to have a huge block party, but now, really the entire Valley celebrates. Walter Studios and Walter WhereHouse in downtown Phoenix are prepping for a huge Prince-themed party, expecting more than a thousand people.

"New Year's is special for a lot of different reasons, but one of the reasons why we’re so interested in curating spaces for people to get together is we really believe in the connectivity of the community in Phoenix," said Elvis Taska, Walter Studios NYE organizer.

The party won’t stop at midnight, either.

"Enjoy our dining and entertainment through the evening, and at 6 in the morning, we’re going to have a champagne toast," Taska said.

And because it's New Year's Eve, authorities will be out in full force to catch drivers who should not be on the roads.

"We don’t really have a normal when it comes to policing. We are always prepared for any increase, especially on holiday weekends. So we do have our DUI squad out patrolling especially with the increase of alcohol consumption throughout the weekend," said Tempe Police officer Byron Thomas.

With around 30,000 people expected on Mill Avenue, the department’s main concern is drinking and driving.

Valley Metro is offering free rides through 2 a.m. on Jan. 1 to help drunk drivers stay off the road.

Those in the nightclub industry say New Year's Eve is the Super Bowl for them. It's not uncommon for areas like Scottsdale to be packed on this holiday.

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