It’s The holiday we look back on year after year in nostalgic wonderment: what we did right, what we did wrong, how we can make a new year better for us and our fellow man. But first, we send the old out with a bang while welcoming anew with vigor—and maybe a slight hangover on January 1st.
There are numerous ways to ring in 2013 in the Port City—and the best part of all is it fits any budget, whether searching for freebies, low-paying excitement or indulgent galas. From charity events to theatre shows, dancing to family celebrations to simply dining out, here are a few things going on around town.
May peace and prosperity bless you and yours in the coming year. We at encore can’t wait to help you move through it and our community with more active affiliation and greater fulfillment.
New Year’s Noon
Every year, the Children’s Museum of Wilmington manages to make New Year’s an all-inclusive celebration for the little ones, too, thanks to their New Year’s Noon event. Taking place earlier than the midnight soirée, the event lasts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features craft-making of streamers and noisemakers, along with dancing and singing, and the countdown at noon. Kids and their families enjoy the obligatory confetti toss and a juice toast! Museum admission required; 116 Orange Street. 910-254-3534 or www.playwilmington.org.
New Year’s Beach Ball Drop
Though we may not be Times Square with the Waterford Crystal ball showcasing 16.7 million colors and weighing 11,875 pounds, we do have our own spectacular Beach Ball Drop to look forward to annually in Kure Beach. The yearly Pleasure Island event begins at 9 p.m. with a DJ and dancing at the Kure Beach Pier. When the ball drops at midnight, a spectacular fireworks demonstration gets underway, allowing for a family-friendly way to ring in 2013. DJ, dancing, refreshment and party favors available for purchase, too. www.islandoflights.org.
New Year’s Henrietta III Cruise
Considering us coastal creatures are surrounded by the peace and tranquility of water, cruising into 2013 seems a probable way to welcome a new year. The Henrietta III will hold their annual New Year’s Eve cruise down the Cape Fear River, Beginning at 8:30 p.m., the cruise departs at 9 p.m. and the party will continue until shortly after 1:30 a.m. A heavy hors d’oeuvre buffet will be served, and entertainment, party favors and a champagne toast is included (as are tax and gratuity) for only $85. Prepaid reservations are required; folks will board at the foot of Dock and Water streets, downtown. 910-343-1611 or 800-676-0162; www.cfrboats.com
New Year’s Eve Party Cruise
More cruising will take place aboard the Royal Winner Princess II in Carolina Beach for a dessert and champagne toast New Year’s Eve. Folks board the two hour cruise, from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., to watch the midnight fireworks on Pleasure Island. There will also be party favors and dancing with a cash bar. The cruise sets sail from Carolina Beach Marina. Tickets are only $25; reservations can be made by calling 910-458-5356. www.winnerboats.com/Happy_New_Year.html.
“Spamalot” New Year’s Gala
Nothing holds a more memorable bang than laugh-ing into 2013! City Stage has just the prescription with Monthy Python’s “Spamalot” production at Thalian Hall. Their New Year’s Eve Gala will not only include tickets to the musical comedy, but a buffet, open bar, party favors and a midnight toast. The gala lasts from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. and tickets go for $100 each.Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St., Wilmington. 910-632-2285 or 800-523-2820; www.thalianhall.org.
A Night at The Moulin Rouge
In more theatre news, the new kid on the block, TheatreNOW, continues booking the calendar with holiday-themed events, including “A Night at The Moulin Rouge” on the 31st of December. There will be two seatings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and tickets include a live cabaret show, a French meal, party favors, and champagne toast at midnight. Plus, folks can indulge in the absinthe bar, as local actor Anthony Lawson hosts the evening with can-can dancers from Technique in Motion Dance Studio, aerial acrobat Jamie Poletti, jazz singer Cindy Hospedales and magician/illusionist Michael Casey. Tickets are $80 each or $150 a couple, available at www.theatrewilmington.com. TheatreNOW, 19 S. 10th Street. 910-399-3669.
New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball
A benevolent way to ring in the new year happens at St. Thomas Preservation Hall, 9 p.m. on December 31st through 1 a.m. January 1st. For $150 a ticket, open to ages 18 and up, folks will dress to the nines to attend the eve’s masquerade ball. Or come in black tie and help “save the night.” All tickets sales benefit The Centre of Redemption, a Wilmington safe house for young girls rescued from sex trafficking who are pregnant. There will be music, open bar, hors d’ oeuvres, dessert, a champagne toast and silent auction. Tickets can be purchased at www.savethenight.org.
Pravda New Year’s Eve
Dance the night away with DJ SBZ and DJ Matt Evans and enjoy your own personal bottle of champagne with toast at midnight. There will be $3 infused shots, $5 infused cocktails and $2 Yuengling bottles. Reservations run $100 for general admission or $200 for VIP. www.wilmingtonnightclubs.com
Cape Fear Coastline New Year
It’s the biggest holiday event in the Carolinas, taking place over not one but two days nonetheless, all to help a good cause. Proceeds from Cape Fear Coastline New Year will benefit Women of Hope, which is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for female cancer patients, their families and friends. Taking place both December 30th and 31st, folks will enjoy two bands, including Jim Quick and Coastline and The Hip Pocket Band, along with two DJs, Joey Warren and Ray Scott ,who will play music all night long at the Coastline Convention Center in downtown Wilmington.
There will be numerous meals served throughout the evening, too, including a Southern smoked BBQ pig pickin’, heavy hor d’ouerves, food from Jones Fish Camp Ca-tering and a midnight breakfast. Party favors, champagne toasts and mixing and mingling into 2013 only costs $63. www.umbrellaevent.com; (843) 427-7257.
Midnight in Paris
Who says one must pay boatloads of cash to enjoy a Parisian getaway? Locally, one can simply make a reservation for the “Midnight in Paris New Year’s Celebration” at Le Cata-lan French Café and Wine Bar. Taking place Monday, December 31st, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the three-course prix-fixe menu will include a glass of bubbly plus “cotillons” (party favors). Call (910) 815-0200 to reserve; only $58 a person.
San Juan Café
Looking for the delicacy of the islands as a way to kick off 2013? Well, San Juan Café has everything ready for a mere $55 a person (tax and tip not included). Choose one of two seatings, 6:30 p.m. or 9 p.m., and feast on five courses of Puerto Rican-inspired haute cuisine. On the menu is seared foie gras, jicama and arugula salad, ropa vieja tacos with white truffle oil, red snapper or lechon asado, and flan for the finalé. Reservations can be made by call-ing 910-790-8661. www.sanjuancafenc.com.
Tamashii Sushi and Spoons of Wilmington
It’s hailed as Wilmington’s greatest, new sushi spot and they’re having a special menu come New Year’s Eve to kick off an even more successful first year of business in 2013! Don’t miss a five-course meal for only $60 a person or $110 a couple. It will include decadent delights, such as miso-mustard pork tenderloin, the Incredible Greybeal Roll, pan-seared scal-lops and the Tamashii Roll, along with spoons, dessert, salads and more. Hours are 4:30 p.m. until and you can upgrade your meal with a bubbly component if you wish!
Contact Tamashii at 910-703-7253 for reservations. www.sushiandspoons.com.
New Year’s Eve Parrot Head Party
Would you rather shag your way into the new year, Carolina Beach style? The New Year’s Eve Parrot Head Shagging Beach Party will be held at the Lazy Pirate. The Pleasure Island Par-rot Heads are holding the free event beginning at 8 p.m. There will be a midnight champagne toast, party favors and more! Overnight accommodations are available at The Drifters Reef Motel; just make “Danny Special” reservations by calling 910-458-5414. DJ Bill Davis will spin tunes and the Times Square countdown and ball drop will take place, with party lasting until 2 a.m. 701 North Lake Park Boulevard, Carolina Beach.