East Tennesseans spent Tuesday night joining the rest of the country ringing in the new year.

There were festivities all over town, including ball drops and fireworks in both Market Square and Gatlinburg, lots of music, dancing comedy, food and drink.

Some interesting history: The ball drop has been a symbol of the new year since 1906. New York City had their first New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square in 1904 with fireworks. The city banned fireworks two years later, and event organizers arranged to have a 700-pound ball lowered down a pole.

The tradition of fireworks started in China, where they were invented. It's believed the noise scares off evil spirits and misfortune.

Here in East Tennessee, thousands gathered to celebrate new beginnings as the clock struck midnight.

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