Weekly Entertainment Guide — Mummers, countdowns and fireworks
Ready to ring in the new year? WHYY's Robin Bloom has a baker's dozen recommendations for countdowns and fireworks in the Philadelphia region. Here are 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 2014 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 a lot of men and women in dresses strutting up Broad Street! Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Broad and Washington. Grand Stand entertainment zone on JFK Boulevard between 15th and 16th Streets with more than 1,200 ticketed bleacher seats. And all the fun and fancy continues with two ticketed shows at noon and 5 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Catch MummersFest, December 28-31, an interactive opportunity to try on costumes, watch the clubs rehearse, go on a backstage tour, make crafts and learn to strut.
Love at First Night
It all began in Boston in 1975 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, New Year’s Eve arts festivals are celebrated in cities and towns across the nation including four in our region:
In New Jersey, Haddonfield’s alcohol-free festivities begin at 6 p.m. with more than 40 different performances in 20 venues along Kings Highway. The KidZone features music by Meg Russell, magicians Brian Richards and Mr. Scott, the Music Man, and Mei Mei Dancers. Headliners include ABBA-Mania, The Unexpected Surfer Boys/Beach Boys, The Depue Brothers Band, and Gregory Grene's Acoustic Mix. Fireworks at 9 p.m.. Buttons $15.
Mount Holly, N.J., opens its downtown area to fireworks, food, performing and visual arts, children’s activities, and more, celebrating the upcoming “Year of the Horse.” First Night Burlington County is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Entry buttons are two for $14.
Celebrate on the boardwalk and beach in Ocean City beginning at 4 p.m. with musical performances including Paisley Pickles, Fabulous Grease Band, Trammps, Ocean City Pops, and much more, along with children’s activities, concluding with fireworks at midnight. Buttons $15.
Newtown, Pa., will host an alcohol-free First Night event for families at Council Rock High School North, 62 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA. The celebration begins at 5pm with music, food, Idol competitions, children’s activities, and more, leading up to the fireworks display at 10:15pm above Tyler State Park. Proceeds benefit Newtown D.A.R.E community programs and the Bucks County Food Bank. Buttons $10.
The City of Philadelphia and SugarHouse Casino continue the tradition of two sets of fireworks on New Year’s Eve at 6 p.m. 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, N.J.
The Blue Cross RiverRink celebrates the New Year with two parties coinciding with the fireworks displays, 5-7 p.m. and 11 p.m. - 1 a.m., and family activities and entertainment, food and ice-skating, Columbus Boulevard at Market Street, Philadelphia.
Atlantic City rings in the New Year with parties and concerts at most casinos and hotels, including Borgata, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s, Resorts, Revel, Showboat, Trump Taj Mahal and the Tropicana.
Viennese New Year’s Eve
The State Theatre in New Jersey hosts “Salute to Vienna” (pictured) on New Year’s Eve, patterned after Vienna’s world famous "Neujahrskonzert," with 75 musicians, singers, and dancers performing Strauss waltzes, polkas, and famous operetta excerpts. Featuring the Strauss Symphony of America, soprano Monika Rebholz, tenor Brian Cheney and dancers from Europa Ballett — St. Polten, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 6 p.m., 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, N.J.
Bid farewell to 2013 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Grammy® Award-winning guest conductor Bramwell Tovy on New Year’s Eve. The Orchestra is joined on stage by soprano Tracy Dahl and dancers for a program that includes music and waltzes by Strauss, Tuesday, December 31, 7:30pm, The Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia.
The Delaware Symphony Orchestra celebrates the New Year with “Uncorked!” David Amado leads an evening of music and song inspired by the legendary waltzes and timeless music of old Vienna with soprano Marina Costa-Jackson and tenor Dominick Chenes at the Grand Opera House, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., Wilmington, Del.
Family New Year Celebrations
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. Activities start at 3 p.m. and at 6 p.m., ring in the New Year with a “Square Drop” and see the city’s fireworks display, Tuesday, December 31, 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia (pictured). Free.
Please Touch Museum hosts “Countdown to Noon” on Tuesday, Dec. 31. The museum will open at 9am with “Noon Year” party activities that lead up to a countdown bash at noon, and again at 1 p.m. The celebration includes music and other activities as well as an appearance by King Countdown, official Marshall of the New Year, 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia.
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, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m., Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia.
On Dec. 31, celebrate the New Year and what would be the 262nd 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.
World Café Live at the Queen hosts holiday events including Sing-a-Long Sound of Music, Friday, Dec. 27, 8 p.m.; Montana Wildaxe, Saturday, Dec 28, 8 p.m.; New Year’s Eve Peanut Butter & Jams with Trout Fishing in America and a countdown to 12 noon, doors open at 11am; David Bromberg Quintet with Suzie Brown, 10 p.m.; Party with the Spinto Band upstairs, 10 p.m.; 500 North Market Street, Wilmington, Del.
ComedySportz Philadelphia hosts the New Year’s Improvin’ Eve, two improv shows at 7:30pm (for all ages including a countdown when it turns midnight in Brazil) and at 10:30 p.m. (for 18 years and up, including a midnight countdown). Ticket price includes the show, party favor, refreshments including pizza, and a sparkling cider toast. Also, rarely played games and an appearance by Baby New Year, Tuesday, Dec. 31, Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
All-Star Week and Dino Days
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University hosts “All-Star Week,” featuring Dino Day, Live Animal Day, Bird and Bug Day, and Weird-Thing-in-Jars Day, Friday, December 27 through Monday, December 30, celebrating its most popular attractions with live animal shows, new stage shows, museum specimens, craft making, talks and more. Included with museum admission.
An all-new “Dino Days” returns to the Delaware Museum of Natural History, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 27-28, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. both days, with free-flight live bird shows led by bird expert Phung Luu at 11am and 1pm each day, featuring hawks, owls, falcons, and other birds of prey flying untethered in the Museum’s Hall of Birds. Get up close with real fossils from the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society, watch puppet shows, explore exhibits and more, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Del.
Curio Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of “Gender Comedy: A Less Stupid Twelfth Night,” a new production that makes the Shakespeare version even more absurd, onstage through Jan. 4. Written by company member Harry Slack, the play focuses on gender identity, sexual identity, and the complications of love…and includes robots! Directed by Curio Artistic Director Paul Kuhn and starring Lavinia Loveless (the drag alter-ego of Curio Company member Josh Hitchens) as Viola, Lesley Berkowitz, Dana Kreitz, Patrick Lamborn, Meri Lyons-Cox, and Harry Slack at Curio’s Black Box space at the Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 4740 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia.
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