Gwinnett celebrates New Year's around the county

With more than 800,000 people living in Gwinnett County, there are plenty of opportunities to party down on New Year's Eve -- all you need is find the right place to ring in the new year.

The city of Lawrenceville is throwing its 8th annual Lawrenceville Rings Bash from 3 p.m. to midnight at the Historic Gwinnett County Courthouse. Attendees, both young and old have an abundance of activities to choose from, including face painting, a scavenger hunt and live music. At midnight, a grand fireworks display will be set off. For those who prefer cocktail parties can reserve a spot at the Lawrenceville Ball by contacting Lauren Norris at lauren@visitlawrenceville.com.

Half an hour away, the city of Duluth has planned a family friendly party from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. in the downtown area of Main Street. One perk to this party: the event is virtually free.

"You can basically spend the entire night for free," event coordinator Jayne Madigan said. "This year, we're letting people bring in food and beverages, so everyone can celebrate affordably."

There is a Winter Carnival, giant snow slide, live music by local groups, a tailgate party and fireworks at midnight. Duluth's disco ball "rises to the occasion" instead of drops with the countdown.

For those who would rather party until the suns comes up can head over to Duluth's Wild Bill's at 7:30 p.m. on 2075 Market St. The club is throwing a New Year's Eve bash with hats, horns, a balloon drop and a free champagne toast at midnight, plus Kevin Fowler and Colt Ford are performing into the night.

"Our New Year's Eve event is an excellent value for the amount of entertainment it contains," general manager Tom Siliven said. "For just $25, you can enjoy live music, free bubbly and more. Most places increase their prices on New Year's Eve, but we didn't want to do that. We wanted to offer the best entertainment at the best price in the best venue in the city."

If you're looking for something a little more elegant, Chateau Elan is offering three New Year's Eve celebrations. Choose either the Masquerade, Carnival or New Year's Eve Sojourn packages for an evening of food, drinks, party favors, live music and a bed for an overnight stay. Prices vary between packages, starting at $499 and ranging through $999. Visit www.chateauelan.com to reserve a spot.

Medieval Times in Discover Mills Mall has an event suitable for the entire family. At 9:30 p.m., the restaurant will offer attendees many activities while counting down the hours. There will be a live show, passes to the Museum of Torture, a four-course meal and live music. At midnight, everyone will receive champagne to toast to 2012 -- children will drink a non-alcoholic beverage. For more information, visit www.medievaltimes.com.