The New Jersey Capital Philharmonic is not the only orchestra performing on New Year’s Eve in the region. The Strauss Symphony of America returns to the State Theater in New Brunswick for its 11th annual presentation to usher in the new year, “Salute to Vienna,” a tradition that gives a nod to the solidarity of the music world to the 1939 Nazi annexation of Austria. Conductor Imre Kollar will lead a full orchestra, opera singers, and ballet and ballroom dancers through a program that features Strauss waltzes and operetta melodies.
State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. Saturday, December 31, 6 p.m. $55 to $120. 732-246-7469 or www.statetheatrenj.org.
At Princeton’s Catch a Rising Star comedy club at the Hyatt Regency at Carnegie Center, audiences can laugh the old year out with an 8 p.m. show featuring the self proclaimed “crazy-ass Jersey comic” Jerrold Benford, along with Jersey-roots comics Adam Kerr and Steve Trevelise, $35 to $50.
The comics also appear in another show at 10 p.m. that is part of one of three packages offered by the Hyatt. Also included in that show is New York-based standup and TV comic and writer Joe DeVito and a live feed from Times Square in NYC.
Catch a Rising Star, 102 Carnegie Center, Princeton. For the show, or for the dinner and dancing package, call 609-734-4059. www.catcharisingstar.com.
The Villagers Theater’s annual New Year’s Eve offering is a “Tribute to Frank Sinatra,” featuring the Summer Swing Orchestra and vocalists Stephanie Long and Kevin Gray. As usual there are two shows. The one at 7 p.m. includes the show with orchestra and vocalists, $25. The 9:30 p.m. presentation includes the show with orchestra and vocalists and a post-show dinner party— with hot and cold buffet, coffee, dessert, and champagne toast — in the company’s decorated black box theater.
Villagers Theater, 475 De Mott Lane, Somerset. $65. 732-873-2710 or www.villagerstheatre.com.
And as always the evening starts with a local favorite: the annual Hogmanay. That’s the large bonfire blazing at the Brearley House, the 1761 Georgian mansion operated by the Lawrenceville Historical Society. The Scottish tradition brought to the area by settlers is a way to prepare for a new year. As the LHS notes, “Create a list of all the bad things you want to forget about 2016 and bring it to the fire on New Year’s Eve. Toss it in the giant flames and watch it burn.”
The free family-fun event includes bagpipe music, hot beverages, and donuts. It runs 6 to 8 p.m. The Brearley House is located at 100 Meadow Road, just past the lights at Lenox Drive and Lewisville Road, Lawrence. A sign for the Brearley House marks the intersection. www.thelhs.org.
Area residents can either take a hike or strut it up on New Year’s Day.
First Day Hike is designed as that first step for those making it a New Year’s resolution to get out and get moving. The family friendly walk started more than 25 years ago at a state park in Massachusetts and an annual nation-wide project coordinated through the National Association of State Park Directors.
Area walkers have two options. Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville is offering a guided 1.2 mile walk of the route taken by Continental Army on Christmas Night, 1776. Stops include the sites of the two ferry houses on both sides of the river, a visit to a replica of one of the flatboats that transported horses and infantry, and a stone barn. Hikers meet at McKonkey’s Ferry in Washington Crossing Historic Park, Pennsylvania, and then walk across the Washington Crossing Bridge. The event is set for 10:30 to 1 p.m. The event is free, but registrations are required and can be made by calling 609-737-2515 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com. www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/first_day_hikes.html.
The Friends of the Mapleton Preserve is offering an easy 1.5 mile loop hike that includes the preserve area and D&R Canal State Park. Also easy is the time, noon to 2 p.m. To get to the reserve, take the entrance to the D & R Canal State Park Headquarters at 145 Mapleton Road, Kingston. The walk is free and no registration is required. www.fpnl.org.
For strutting, head to Philadelphia for the 116th annual Mummers Parade, starting at City Hall at 9:30 a.m. and over at 6 p.m. The oldest folk parade in the United States and regional New Year’s Day tradition, the event has roots in ancient Europe where ceremonies using masks and noise were used to welcome the change of season.
Now it’s an all-day event that includes five Mummer divisions following a 1.1 mile South Broad Street parade route in the following order: the Comic, Fancy, Wench Brigade, Sting Band, and Fancy Divisions. Taking public transportation to Suburban Station is a good idea, but brave drivers should be able to find free parking. www.visitphilly.com/events/philadelphia/the-mummers-parade.