Lee County is set to ring out 2008, a year to which many of us are more than ready to bid adieu.
Here in the Cape, the fourth annual New Year's Celebration at Cape Harbour will launch at 6 p.m. New Year's Eve.
All the shops, galleries and restaurants remain open and past parties have filled the square as revelers turn out to enjoy the music and partake of food and drink while they await the rapidly becoming famous Cape Harbour midnight "ball drop."
In Downtown Fort Myers, the Downtown Countdown takes over the River District beginning at 8 p.m.
This year's Countdown will feature four bands on two stages; local radio personalities, who will provide additional music; and street performers.
As in Cape Harbour, the downtown's bars and restaurants will remain open and there will be food and drink vendors offering additional fare.
Thousands attend each event with past Countdown draws as high as 15,000 people.
For those who prefer a more intimate atmosphere, numerous Cape bars and eateries are planning New Year's events of their own.
Count us among those who are looking forward to 2009 in hope times will begin to turn with the calendar.
The year 2008 has been a rough one and ringing in the new year is a bittersweet joy.
Still, a joy it is and we predicate capacity crowds at the big events.
But, please, celebrate responsibly.
If you plan to imbibe, have a designated driver, call a cab or a friend, or call AAA, which again is offering its free "Tow To Go" program, simply be calling 1-800-222-HELP to a safe ride home.
May you and yours have a happy - and safe - New Year.
And may the New Year be better than the last.
- Breeze editorial