As the music faded when the clock struck midnight on Friday, the skies at Denarau Island lit up as the first batch of fireworks exploded into the night-sky and confetti was thrown into the air.
It was goodbye to 2010 and a big hello to 2011.
With an enormous amount of effort, promises were made by a record amount of Denarau properties for a night to remember on Nadi’s famed integrated island resort.
The Fiji Sun West team joined the festivities at several of these properties, noting different ambiences of happiness at different locations. Port Denarau, celebrating New Year, was packed to the rafters.
Flooded by people who were clearly enjoying their last meal of the year, the locals had for the most part, a distinct family-centric feeling, with large and small family units gathered around tables, sharing their memories of the past 12 months.
Restaurants and bars were booked out and, according to their management, there were reservations made for the night from several weeks ago, having to turnover all tables at least three times.
One of the waiters at the Bonefish Restaurant said all their 50 or so tables had been booked throughout the entire week.
It was also a pleasant surprise to note that more locals converged to the island, which has characteristically held the notion of a mostly tourist destination.
In a previous interview, the centre’s general manager, Aysha Koya, said they wanted to break away from the idea that Port Denarau was only for tourists.
At the stroke of midnight, another first for Port Denarau ensued as fireworks were set off from a barge out at sea.
Further down the island, at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, popular local band, Divine was keeping partygoers on their feet with their first-class cover versions of popular songs.
The Sofitel ballroom was a hive of activities in every corner, as some danced into the morning, while others took a break and relaxed with some champagne under the colourful cozy indoor gazebos.
Fireworks were also a highlight of the night as many watched the colourful display from the lobby verandah which overlooked the ocean, and others preferred to stay closer to the action, standing by the beach.
New Year celebration was not new for Sheraton Fiji Resort which, for the past, has been the main centre for ringing in the New Year on the island.
With no exception this year, the ballroom was chock-a-block filled with the younger social butterflies who danced to the music played by a DJ, while drinks were being served from a make-shift bar on the side.
The ambience inside the Sheraton Fiji ballroom had a distinct youthful atmosphere; party hats bobbing up and down and limbs moving to the latest dance move in the land of the young and hip.
Wherever on Denarau we went, the common denominator was joy, enthusiasm, sentimentality at the year gone by and a bursting excitement at the possibilities waiting in the year ahead.
Fiji Sun – JESSAN DOTON