Heavy rain does not stop revelers on Beale Street

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - There was a soggy start to the New Year's Eve celebration on Beale Street Friday where thousands were expected to ring in 2011.

Hours before the planned Gibson guitar drop at the Hard Rock, rain dropped on Beale Street.

Thunder drowned out a drummer as the band Rock Sugar conducted a sound check in the stormy weather.

Organizers said they were on pins and needles all week.

"It's always been cold, but the precip out here hasn't been a problem," said Mike Glenn with the Beale Street Merchants Association.

Organizers anticipated upwards of 40,000 people for New Year's Eve, partly because of the crowd in town for the Liberty Bowl.

"We did not come prepared for the rain," said Beale Street visitor Eric Dunn.  "Just leaving the Liberty Bowl to see the O'Jays and, man, we didn't know it was going to be like this."

"We had no rain all Summer long," said Doug Akers, visiting from Kentucky.  "Anytime you get a little, 70 degrees and New Year's Eve, let it rain."

Organizers advised no one under the age of 21 will be allowed on Beale Street on New Year's Eve after 11:00 p.m.

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