FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Even with a wave of new omicron infections, Fort Lauderdale decided to go back to its traditional in-person party, complete with anchor drop, food vendors, music and a children’s party.

7News cameras captured revelers in downtown Fort Lauderdale in the kind of party scene one comes to expect from New Year’s Eve celebrations.

It’s a far cry from this time in 2020, when the streets were mostly empty, except for a few people who hung out at patio bars.

“We are vaccinated, so we feel protected,” said a mother enjoying the festivities.

People contemplated the old versus the new and even voiced a little optimism for the year ajead, and in between light stick fights, generous helpings of food and pony rides.

One young partygoer wished to get better grades.

“That my mom could not work so hard,” said the young reveler.

“[I wish that] my niece becomes a better person, ha nice,” said another reveler.

His niece is 2 years old, so she’s got time to work on that. 

Last year, COVID kept this celebration from happening, but city officials said providing families an outside gathering and perhaps keeping them from house parties could be a healthier way to usher in 2022, dancing with friends highly encouraged.

“We feel like we’re helping the situation by keeping people out of their homes, out of restaurants and in the open air, and letting people enjoy the new year in a healthy way,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.

Everyone who spoke with 7News has high hopes for 2022.

“I want the Twins to win World Series. I want a cat,” said a young reveler.

Others said they hope they would not see as much plastic in the oceans.

Food vendors were on hand, as well as a children’s party that ended with a bedtime-friendly anchor drop at 7 p.m. before the big event.

“At the stroke of midnight, a kiss on the cheek, not lips,” said Trantalis.

And with that big event came street closures in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Himmarshee Street, or Southwest Second, was shut down between Second and Seventh avenues.

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