Whether you want to end the old year with a night out or start a new year by stepping out, there are several area options that suit a variety of interests, fancies, and budgets.
Let’s start with the December 31 countdown:
The Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey closes 2019 with its annual New Year’s Eve Celebration Concert at the Trenton War Memorial, December 31, at 8 p.m. Hosted by WWFM radio manager David Osenberg, the concert conducted by CPNJ music director Daniel Spalding mixes the tradition of welcoming the New Year with music from Vienna with music made popular by Hollywood.
On the program are “A James Bond Medley,” Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” Richard Strauss’s opening of “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” made popular by “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “Sing Sing Sing,” arranged by the late Trenton composer and arranger Bill Holcomb. Noted young organist Brett Miller provides a pre-concert show on the theater’s grand 1928 Moeller Theater Pipe Organ at 7:10 p.m. $45 to $75.
Trenton War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive, Trenton. www.capitalphilharmonic.org.
The Strauss Symphony of America returns to the State Theater in New Brunswick for its 14th annual New Year’s Eve concert, December 31 at 5 p.m. Conducted by London-based Alastair Willis and featuring dancers from the Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine and International Champion Ballroom Dancers, the “Salute to Vienna” event features a variety of music by Johan Strauss including the popular “Blue Danube Waltz.” $39 to $125.
State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. 732-246-7469 or www.statetheatrenj.org.
The Hopewell Theater is offering a “Hoppin’ New Year’s Eve Party,” December 31, starting at 6 p.m. Featuring a Brick Farm Tavern dinner and dancing to live music by Philadelphia’s vintage swing band, Parlour Noir!, the event features three ticket options: a “Dinner ticket” with three-course dinner and dancing, a “Premiere Party Balcony and Dance Ticket” with a semi-private balcony spot, or a “Regular ticket” with dancing and dance lesson. The event is semi-formal and vintage attire is encouraged. $50 to $125.
Hopewell Theater, 5 South Greenwood Avenue, Hopewell. 609-466-1964 or www.hopewelltheater.com.
Viva Tango in Princeton plans to tango in the New Year on December 31, 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The event for dancers of all levels, including beginners, features food, live music by pianist Maurizio Najt, recordings by DJ DimOn, and, of course, tango. $40.
Suzanne Patterson Center, 45 Stockton Street Princeton. www.vivatango.org.
The Lawrenceville Historical Society’s annual Hogmanay is the large bonfire blazing at the 1761 Brearley House. The family-friendly event with bagpipes, hot beverages, and donuts is a Scottish tradition where you write down your woes and toss them in the blaze to prepare for a new year. 6 to 8 p.m. Free.
Brearley House, 100 Meadow Road, just past the lights at Lenox Drive and Lewisville Road in Lawrence. www.thelhs.org.
Villagers Theater in Somerset’s annual New Year’s Eve offering is a “The Great American Songbook: His Way.” Created by New York City-based entertainer Robert Bannon, the concert is a recreation of his recently sold-out Triad Theater event chronicling his musical journey from student to performer. As usual there are two shows, 7 and 9:30 p.m. The first includes the show with orchestra and vocalists, $25. The later presentation includes the show with orchestra and vocalists and a post-show gala in the company’s black box theater. $65.
Villagers Theater, 475 DeMott Lane, Somerset. 732-873-2710 or www.villagerstheatre.com.
New Year’s Day
Now let’s jumpstart 2020 with some activities:
The annual First Day Hike promises a natural way to ease into the new year. Organized by the National Association of State Park Directors, the project encourages people to get out and get healthy. There are two free hikes set at Washington Crossing State Park:
“From Ferry to Ferry — 100 horses, 18 cannons, and the wagons” is an easy 1.2-mile walk following the Continental Army’s Christmas night route across the Delaware River. Meet at McKonkey’s Ferry at Washington Historic Park in Pennsylvania, walk across the Washington Crossing Bridge, visit the Nelson House and the ferry boat replica, pass over the pedestrian bridge, visit the stone barn, and end at the Johnson Ferry House. 10 a.m. to noon. Registrations for individuals ages 10 and above are required by calling 609-737-2515. To check for weather-related cancellations, call 609-737-2515 for message on December 31 or early on January 1.
Then there’s the Family Nature Hike and Tomahawk Throw, 1 to 4 p.m. The activity includes a one-mile winter walk in the park and the opportunity for adults to hurl hand axes at a wooden target approximately 15 feet away. The meeting location is listed as Washington Crossing State Park, 355 Washington Crossing Pennington Road, Titusville. Registration is also required by calling 609-737-0623 no later than December 28. Cancellation information at 609- 737-0609.
For more information, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/first_day_hikes.html.
The annual Mummers Parade — the oldest folk art event in the nation — starts at 9 a.m. at Philadelphia’s City Hall, at the intersection of Broad and Market streets, and then follows a 1.1-mile path down South Broad Street. Rooted in ancient European traditions, the event is based on the art of “mummery” (silent performances) and features lavish costumes, strumming and strutting, and a spectacle of color — with bands and groups stopping along the way to perform and play. The free festivities continue to 6 p.m. Public transportation from Trenton to Philadelphia’s Suburban Station is a good idea, but brave drivers should be able to find free parking.
The 46th annual January 1 New Year’s Day Marathon Reading at the Poetry Project of Saint Marks Church in New York City will give poetry lovers an earful. With more than 100 readers, the event is one of the nation’s biggest festivals of its kind, a major fundraiser for the well-regarded poetry organization, and a way to catch the newest voices in American poetry. 2 p.m. to midnight. $20.
St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street (at 2nd Avenue). 212-674-0910 or www.poetryproject.org.
Princeton Country Dancers will have a New Year’s Day Contra Dance Night on January 1. Festivities start at 7:30 p.m. with a basic contra dance workshop and formally get moving with the first dance at 8 p.m. Refreshments are served at 9:15 p.m. No partner or experience required. $5 to $10.
Suzanne Patterson Center, 45 Stockton Street, Princeton. www.princetoncountrydancers.org.