Famously Hot New Year exists because of the stewardship of public and private sponsors and the commitment of many individuals to bringing residents of the Midlands and South Carolina together with guests from around the region, country and world for a safe and exciting celebration. Beginning within a month or two of the prior year’s celebration, the co-chairs of the Famously Hot New Year bring together a team of people and companies who challenge each other to build on successes to grow.



Famously Hot New Year works closely with like-minded organizations across the Midlands and State to reach key target audiences, inviting them to experience South Carolina and all the good things it has to offer.

Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism 

South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism (SCPRT)

The Comet

City of Columbia


Action Team

These are the people and organizations who make it happen on the ground–engaging the community, hiring and managing the entertainment, and getting word out about the celebration.

Laura Basile, Neonatologist, Palmetto Health Richland

Hamilton Grant, Grant Business Strategies

Sam Johnson, Nexsen Pruet

Project Management
Linda Toro

Sara Ballard, Sara Ballard Marketing

PR, Marketing, Social Media & Creative
Flock and Rally: Integrated Communications for a Brave New South: Merritt McNeely, Meg Stith, Rachel Carter, Hailey Covell

Cait Maloney Creative

Media Placements
Teri Buonasera, Zach Cox, Olivia Hyatt, Buonasera Media Services

Event Management/Logistics
Bruce Crouch, Thoughtful Productions

Palmetto Sponsor Lounge
Sara Ballard, Sara Ballard Marketing

Chris McLane, AEG LIVE

DuBose Web Group

Event Onsite Social Media Display
Chad Baker, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina 


Advisory Committee

Because this is a really big deal, we want the input and oversight of stakeholders. The entire FHNY team is grateful to the ongoing advice and support of these committed people.

Richland County

Dalhi Myers, Richland County Council District 10

Community/Neighborhood Relationships

Hamilton Grant, Grant Business Strategies

Hospitality/Business Relations

Meredith Atkinson, Congaree Vista Guild
Matt Kennell, City Center Partnership
Amy Beth Franks, Five Points Association
Jennifer Suber, Devine Street Association

City of Columbia

Ashley Jenkins, Special Assistant to the City Manager

The Comet

Experience Columbia SC

Bill Ellen, Executive Director
Erica Ray, Sales Coordinator
Kelly Barbrey, VP of Sales and Marketing

Lexington County

Chuck Whipple, Director of Midlands Technical College's Enterprise Campus

SCRLA/Hotel & Restaurant

Doug O'Flaherty, Vice President