Holiday Entertainment Guide - Mummers, countdowns and fireworks
December 28, 2012By Robin Bloom
Looking for something to do for New Year's? WHYY's Robin Bloom has her picks.
They've been at it for a full year – creating costumes, drilling dance numbers, finishing floats. This New Year's Day, more than 10,000 will take to the streets. They are Philadelphia's Mummers and they'll welcome 2013 just as they have rung in just about every New Year for more than a century. Cold noses are a small price to pay to witness glockenspiels, gowns, clowns, confetti and hundreds of men and women in dresses strutting up Broad Street! And all the fun and fancy continues with two ticketed shows at noon and 5pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
It all began in Boston in 1976 with a small local group of artists who were inspired to create a new kind of New Year's revelry emphasizing community spirit. Decades later, there will be more than seventy-five New Years Eve arts festivals celebrated in cities and towns across the nation including four in our region:
In New Jersey, Haddonfield's alcohol-free festivities begin at 6pm with the Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience starring Joby Rodgers, The Unexpected Boys: A Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli, The Four Seasons, Jersey Boys, and Iona: A Top Pan Celtic Band, plus much more musical, performance, comedy and kids entertainment including fireworks at 9pm. Buttons $15.
Mount Holly, NJ opens its downtown area to fireworks, food, comedy acts, kids' workshops, and music for First Night Burlington County, including Katie Kat, This Way to the Egress, Branin Road, and more, 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Entry buttons are two for $13.
Celebrate on the boardwalk and beach in Ocean City beginning at 4pm with musical performances including Trout Fishing in America, the Grease Band, Mummers string band, and much more, along with children's activities such as Gillian's Wonderland Pier rides, concluding with fireworks at midnight. $15.
Newtown, PA will host an alcohol-free First Night event for families at Council Rock High School North. The celebration begins at 5pm with music, food, Idol competitions, and will lead up to the fireworks display at 10pm, 62 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA. $10.
For a "First Night" near you, visit: http://firstnightusa.org/
The City of Philadelphia and SugarHouse Casino continue the tradition of two sets of fireworks on New Year's Eve at 6pm and midnight over the Delaware River. Launched from barges in the river, the fireworks are choreographed to unique soundtracks that can be heard from Great Plaza at Penn's Landing and Wiggins Park in Camden, NJ.
The Blue Cross RiverRink celebrates the New Year with two parties coinciding with the fireworks displays, 5-7pm and 11pm-1am, with family activities and entertainment, food and ice-skating, Columbus Blvd at Market Street, Philadelphia. $35 skaters, $25 spectators.
Atlantic City rings in the New Year with parties at most casinos and hotels and concerts including Jane's Addiction at Showboat's House of Blues, The Village People at Tropicana, Grand Funk Railroad at Resorts, the "Life in Color" Paint Party at Bader Field, and more. Ticket prices start at $45.
Other festive events in the region:
The Philadelphia Museum of Art hosts the Art After 5 New Year's Eve Pre-Party Mistletoe Hop, December 28, until 8:45pm, and holiday concerts including the Upper Darby High School Encore Singers, Friday, December 28, St. Thomas Gospel Choir of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Saturday, December 29, Singing City, Sunday, December 30, First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, Monday, December 31, The Philadelphia Chorus, Tuesday, January 1, all at 2pm.
World Café Live at the Queen hosts holiday concerts including Sing-a-Long Sound of Music, Friday, December 28, 8pm; New Year's Eve with Rusted Root, Monday, December 31, 10pm; 500 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE.
The African American Museum in Philadelphia holds its Kwanzaa Celebration this Saturday, December 29, 11am-4pm, and Sunday, December 30, 12pm-4pm. Visitors can join in the celebration that includes music, dance, storytelling, and crafts. The candles of the kinara will be lit, Camara Arts and Baba Zumbi Soweto will hold an African Dance and Drum session, and there will be a screening of "The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration," 701 Arch Street, Philadelphia. $10, $8 for seniors and children.
Please Touch Museum hosts the largest countdown party for kids in Philadelphia with "Countdown to Noon" on Monday, December 31. The museum will open at 9am with "Noon Year" party activities that lead up to a countdown bash at noon, and again at 1pm. The celebration includes performances by musical guests Louie Miranda and Fandango, as well as an appearance by King Countdown, official Marshall of the New Year, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia. $16.
Franklin Square's "Countdown for Kids" gives families a chance to celebrate the New Year together without having to keep the kids up past midnight. Count down to 6pm, ring in the New Year with a "Square Drop," and see the city's fireworks display, Monday, December 31, 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia, Free.
The State Theatre in New Jersey hosts "Salute to Vienna" on New Year's Eve with the Strauss Symphony of America and dancers from Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine performing a program patterned after Vienna's famous "Neujahrskonzert." Audiences can hear Strauss waltzes, polkas, and excerpts from "Die Fledermaus," and more in a blend of singing, dancing, and costumes, Monday, December 31, 6pm, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. $47-$107.
The Independence Seaport Museum hosts a Family New Year's Eve Party, staying open late so visitors can enjoy the city's 6pm fireworks display from the 2nd floor balcony while enjoying a sparkling cider toast, Monday, December 31, 6pm-7pm, Penn's Landing, Philadelphia. $12, $10 for seniors, children, students, and military.
Sellersville Theater 1894 hosts a New Year's Eve show with Dr. K's Motown Revue, Monday, December 31, 7pm and 10pm; 24 W. Temple Avenue, Sellersville, PA.
Bid farewell to 2012 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin on New Year's Eve. The Orchestra is joined on stage by dancers for a program that includes Haydn's "Farewell" Symphony, Brahms' "Hungarian Dance No. 1," Bernstein's "Mambo" from "West Side Story," and many more encores and showpieces, Monday, December 31, 7:30pm, The Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia. $79-$154.
The National Constitution Center's Holiday Week Celebration continues through December 31. Visitors are encouraged to tour the "American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition" exhibit and experience special holiday-inspired activities that celebrate the New Year by exploring the history of the holiday, how it is celebrated around the world, and the origins of annual traditions, like Philadelphia's own Mummers Parade. Create crafts, join interactive shows, and sing during a special holiday karaoke, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia. Included with museum admission.
On January 1, celebrate the New Year and what would be the 261st birthday of Philadelphia's famous flag maker, Betsy Ross, with "Betsy's Birthday Bash," complete with crafts, cake, and stories with Betsy herself, 11am-4pm, 239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Free.