From the symbolic to the symphonic, the region offers a number of New Year related events to fit a variety of dispositions and pocket books.
Free For All
If free family fun fits the bill, then there is a trio of light entertainment activities ready for early viewing.
Start the evening with a local favorite: the annual Hogmanay Bonfire at the Brearley House, the 1761 mansion operated by the Lawrenceville Historical Society. Now in its 16th year, the Scottish tradition brought the area by settlers involves putting the unpleasant past on paper and tossing them in the wood pile. The free event — featuring bagpipes music, hot beverages, and donuts — runs about an hour. The Brearley House, 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.
The Cranbury Christmas Lights house closes down its seventh year of holiday light with its final shows boasting music and over 100,000 choreographed lights dancing while controlled by hundreds of digital channels and over 20,000 feet of extension cord. Visitors are invited to watch on the lawn. It’s free but you make a donation to one the house’s designated charitable cause, He Cares We Care. The “Christmas Spectacular, “128 North Main Street, Cranbury, 6 to 9 p.m. cranburychristmaslights.com.
Martel’s Winter Wonderland: Bob Martel launched his festival of lights in 1986 and covers his house and packed his small suburban yard with thousands of glittering bulbs and hundreds of animated figures and inflatables that span from the religious to the secular. Visitors are invited to walk through the display, 21 Phillips Avenue, Hamilton, 6 to 9 p.m. Free.
Sounding The Year In
For those who mark the coming of the new year by filling their ears with music, orchestras in Trenton and New Brunswick have just the ticket.
The new New Jersey Capital Philharmonic presents Trenton’s annual tradition New Year’s Eve Concert at Patriot’s Theater at the Trenton War Memorial. The program conducted by Daniel Spalding features Romanian-born pianist Gabriela Imreh and Mano Divina — one of the world’s foremost Thereminists — performing Miklos Rosza’s “Spellbound Concerto” as well as music by Franz Liszt, Leonard Bernstein, and Johann Strauss, Jr., Trenton War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive Trenton, 8 p.m., $25 – $65. 877-987-6487 www.capitalphilharmonic.org.
In New Brunswick, the State Theater presents the annual “Salute to Vienna” with the Strauss Symphony of America. The traditional New Year’s Eve concert features, of course, the music by Johann Strauss. “Salute to Vienna,” State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 6 p.m. $47 to $107. 732-246-7469 or www.statetheatrenj.org.
In Princeton, Viva Tango will hold a New Year Eve Milonga (or Tango Dance Party) at the Suzanne Patterson Center in Princeton. Gentlemen are encouraged to put on a tux, and ladies “your glamorous, glitziest outfit.” Tickets are $25 per person until December 24, $30 per person from December 25 through December 30, and $35 at the door. vivatango.org.
Also in Princeton, the new reopened Catch a Rising Star comedy club presents New Years Eve with Jeff Norris, comedy club and festival veteran, TV and film performer, and comedy radio regular. 10 p.m. show in Junior Ballroom, $55 (plus 3 item minimum), includes show, champagne toast, disc jockey, dancing, live remote countdown from Times Square. Catch a Rising Star, 102 Carnegie Center Dr, Princeton. 609-987-8018 or www.catcharisingstar.com.
The Villagers Theater in Somerset ends the old year with the opening of new show “The Musical of All Musicals (The Musical!).” Featuring a show biz plot with Broadway sounds, two shows are available, 7 p.m. at $20 per person, and a 9:30 p.m. show, gala, and 1940’s Big Band Era Party after party $55 per person. Villagers Theater, 475 De Mott Lane, Somerset. 732-873-2710 or www.villagerstheatre.com.
New Year’s Day
The popular Patriots Week events conclude with the Princeton Battlefield Society’s New Year’s Day Battle of Princeton tour. Society trustee and historian William P. Tatum III leads a real-time tour of the battle that actually occurred on January 3, 1777, giving attendees an appreciation of the battle and 18th-century combat. The tour begins at 7:30 a.m. Meet at the Clark House. Princeton Battlefield State Park, 500 Mercer Road, Princeton. Suggested donation $5. www.theprincetonbattlefieldsociety.com.
The 32nd Hamilton Hangover five-mile race is set for 12:30 p.m. at Veterans Park in Hamilton Township, registration from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Decide on the five-mile race or the one-mile fun run starts at noon. Five-mile participants get a t-shirt, and prizes are awarded to the top finishers overall and in each age group. Hamilton Hangover, Veterans Park, 2206 Kuser Avenue, Hamilton. Noon. $20 pre-registered; $25 day of race; $10 fun run. www.bandlracetiming.com.
The One And Only
The Mummers Parade in Philadelphia is the oldest folk parade in the United States. The day long event starts at 10 a.m. and travels along South Broad Street, starting at Washington Street and continuing to City Hall. Public transportation is a good idea, but brave drivers may be able to find free parking. www.visitphilly.com/events/philadelphia/the-mummers-parade.
New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, December 31.
Mediterra, 29 Hulfish Street, Princeton. 8 p.m. Latin jazz band begins at 9 p.m. Four-course dinner menu and a toast of prosecco, $75. Optional wine pairing available. Register. 609-252-9680. www.terramomo.com.
Italian Bistro Lounge, 441 Raritan Avenue, Highland Park. Tuesday, December 31, 8:30 p.m. Four course dinner, music by the Warren Vache Quartet, champagne, and more. Register. $75. 732-640-1959. www.johnbiancullimusic.com.
Madame’s Back, The Rrazz Room, 6426 Lower York Road, New Hope, PA. 7:30 p.m. $45 to $75. 888-596-1027. www.therrazzroom.com.
Bob Egan, Bowman’s Tavern, 1600 River Road, New Hope, PA. 8 p.m. Open mic and sing-a-long night. 215-862-2972. www.bowmanstavernrestaurant.com.
Villa Laura Ristorante, 365 Spotswood-Englishtown Road, Monroe. Tuesday, December 31, 9 p.m. Three course dinner, live music. Register. $49.95. 732-723-9091. www.villalaurarestaurant.com.
Station Bar and Grill, 2625 Route 130 South, Cranbury. 10 p.m. Entertainment, champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and midnight buffet. No cover. 609-655-5550. stationbarandgrill.com.
Cambridge Inn, 19 Summerhill Road, Spotswood. 8 p.m. Dinner, dancing, classic rock music by Upper Hand, champagne toast. Dessert specials and a la carte menu. Register. 732-251-7400. www.cambridgeinn.com.
Ciro’s Ristorante, 301 Buckelew Avenue, Monroe. 8 p.m. Dinner, dancing, live music, noise makers, and more. Register. 732-521-1800. cirosristoranteitaliano.com.
The Musical of Musicals, Villagers Theater, 475 DeMott Lane, Somerset. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Parody musical about musicals. $20 for early show. $55 for 9:30 p.m. show includes a post performance gala with a hot buffet, drinks, dessert, midnight toast, dancing, entertainment, and more. 732-873-2710. www.villagerstheatre.com.
Central Jersey Dance Society, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 50 Cherry Hill Road, Princeton. 8:30 p.m. Dancing and refreshments (no alcohol). DJ Lou Becerra. $20. E-mail email@example.com for information. 609-945-1883. www.centraljerseydance.org.
Rat’s Restaurant, 126 Sculptor’s Way, Hamilton. 5 p.m. Choose dinner from regular menu, or a five-course tasting menu with wine ($150) or without wine ($95). Champagne toast at midnight. Dance music begins at 8 p.m. Register. 609-584-7800. www.groundsforsculpture.org.
Patriots’ Week, Trenton Downtown Association, Trenton. 11 a.m. “Lenni Lenape: NJ’s Early People” at the museum at 11 a.m. Community peace vigil at 5 p.m. Capital Philharmonic at the War Memorial at 8 p.m. Register. 609-393-8998. www.patriotsweek.com.
Countdown to 2014, Robbinsville Library, 42 Robbinsville-Allentown Road, Robbinsville. Tuesday, December 31, 11:45 a.m. For all ages. Craft and a snack. Register online. 609-259-2150. www.mcl.org.
New Year’s Eve Countdown, Ewing Library, 61 Scotch Road, Ewing. 2 p.m. For children of all ages. Crafts and refreshments. Register. 609-882-3130. www.mcl.org.
Planetarium, New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. “Holiday Laser Lights” for all ages. $7. 609-292-6464. www.newjerseystatemuseum.org.
Professional and Business Singles Network, Holiday Inn, 100 Independence Way, Monmouth Junction. 7:45 p.m. Meet and greet followed by a dance party and social with DJ Bill. Cha cha lessons. Songs from the 1960s to the present. Noisemakers and tiara for all. For ages 40 to 60 plus. Cash bar. Menu available to 11 p.m. Register or walk in. $35 to $40. 610-384-5544. www.PBSNinfo.com.
Steppin’ Out Singles, LaQuinta Inn, 60 Cottontail Lane, Somerset. Tuesday, December 31, 8 p.m. Buffet, champagne toast, hats, noisemakers, and music in the grand ballroom. $50. 862-397-4723. www.steppinoutsingles.com.
Crown of India, 660 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro. 8 p.m. Buffet and DJ. Register. $75 to $85. 609-275-5707. www.crown-of-india.com.
New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery Party, Congregation Etz Chaim, 11 Cornell Avenue, Monroe. 9 p.m. Chinese buffet, dessert table, champagne toast, and mixers. Bring your own bottle. Register. $25. 732-331-0074.