Weekly Entertainment Guide – Mummers, Countdowns and Fireworks

     The Mummers are back to ring in the year 2015 with a new parade route. (Photo courtesy of the Fancy Brigades Association)

    The Mummers are back to ring in the year 2015 with a new parade route. (Photo courtesy of the Fancy Brigades Association)

    Ready to ring in the new year? WHYY’s Robin Bloom has some recommendations for countdowns and fireworks in the Philadelphia region. Here are her picks:

    Fancy the Mummers

    Cold noses are a small price to pay to witness glockenspiels, gowns, clowns, confetti and lots of men and women in dresses strutting down Broad Street! Enjoy Philadelphia’s Mummers as they welcome 2015 just as they have rung in just about every New Year for more than a century. The shortened, new parade route this year begins at 10am at City Hall and proceeds down Broad Street to Washington, with a viewing area by the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. All the fun and fancy continues with two ticketed shows at noon and 5pm 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.

    During the parade, take a break from the cold and ring in the New Year at the Kimmel Center with a free celebration with performances, children’s activities, and more, 9am-6pm, Commonwealth Plaza.

    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 three in our region:

    In New Jersey, Haddonfield’s alcohol-free festivities begin at 6pm with performances in 20 venues along Kings Highway. The KidZone features Paisley Pickles, Brian Richards, and Give and Take Little Circus. Headliners include Screaming Orphans, The Unexpected Surfer Boys, Doo-Wah Riders, and more. Fireworks at 9pm. Buttons $15.

    Celebrate on the boardwalk and beach in Ocean City beginning at 4pm with musical performances including the Fabulous Grease Band, Trammps, Ocean City Pops, Original Blue Notes, and much more, along with children’s activities, concluding with fireworks at midnight. Buttons $20.

    Newtown, PA will host a First Night event for families at Council Rock High School North, 62 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA. The celebration begins at 5pm with music, food, children’s activities, and more, leading up to the fireworks display at 10pm at Newtown Middle School. Proceeds benefit Newtown D.A.R.E community programs and the Bucks County Food Bank. Buttons $10.

    Fireworks over the Delaware

    The City of Philadelphia and SugarHouse Casino continue the tradition of two sets of fireworks on New Year’s Eve at 6pm 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, NJ.

    The Blue Cross RiverRink celebrates the New Year with two parties coinciding with the fireworks displays, 5-8pm and 10pm-1am, and family activities and entertainment, food and ice-skating, Columbus Boulevard at Market Street, Philadelphia.

    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 Sera Gösch, tenor Christian Baumgärtel, and dancers from Kiev-Aniko Ballet of Ukraine and International Champion Ballroom Dancers, Wednesday, December 31, 6pm, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.

    Bid farewell to 2014 with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin on New Year’s Eve. The Orchestra is joined on stage by mezzo soprano Susan Graham and a program that includes music and waltzes by Strauss, Mozart, and more, Wednesday, December 31, 7:30pm, The Kimmel Center, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia.

    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 3pm and at 6pm, 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). Enjoy a dance party and the final Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show.

    Please Touch Museum hosts Countdown to Noon on Tuesday, December 31. The museum will open at 9am with “Noon Year” party activities that lead up to a countdown bash at noon, and again at 1pm. The celebration includes music and other activities as well as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, 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, Wednesday, December 31, 4pm-7pm, Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia.

    On December 31, celebrate the New Year and what would be the 263rd birthday of Philadelphia’s famous flag maker, Betsy Ross, with Betsy’s Birthday Bash, complete with crafts, cupcakes, and stories with Betsy herself, 11am-3pm, 239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Free.

    World Café Live at the Queen celebrates with a New Year’s Eve Peanut Butter & Jams with Trout Fishing in America and a countdown to noon (doors open at 11am), December 31; David Bromberg Quintet, 10pm; Party with the Plow United, Mikey Erg, and The Headies, Upstairs, 10pm; 500 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE.

    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 10:30pm (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, Wednesday, December 31, Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.

    NYE concerts

    Catch the gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello (pictured) at the Electric Factory, December 31, 9pm, with Man Man opening, 421 N. 7th Street, Philadelphia.Spend New Year’s Eve with Philly Bloco at World Café Live, December 31, 10:30pm (doors open at 9:30pm), and a mix of Samba, Funk and Reggae dance party, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.FringeArts hosts a New Year’s Eve party with Red 40 and the Last Groovement, December 31, 11pm, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard at Race Street, Philadelphia.It’s free NYE at MilkBoy Philly, December 31, 8pm with the Paper Shakers, Thee, Idea Men, the GTVs, Foxtrot, and the Get Down, 1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

    Cirque de la Symphonie

    The acrobats, aerialists, and jugglers of Cirque de la Symphonie return to the Kimmel Center to accompany the Philadelphia Orchestra, flying high above the stage and out over the audience and musicians. See one of the gravity-defying shows on Saturday, January 3, 8pm, or Sunday, January 4, 2pm, with Cristian Măcelaru conducting, Broad Street, Philadelphia.

    Motown the Musical

    The Broadway tour of Motown the Musical comes to Philadelphia January 6-18, telling the true story behind the music and lives that transformed America, including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, and many more legendary artists, and over 40 classic songs like “My Girl,” “What’s Going On,” “Dancing in the Street,” “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” and much more, Academy of Music, Broad Street, Philadelphia.

    Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography

    It’s the last chance to catch Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The show, the first major retrospective in nearly 50 years devoted to the great American photographer, closes this Sunday, January 4. The artist’s career, which began in the early 1900s, spanned a period of revolutionary change both in the arts and in the wider world. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has recently acquired more than 3000 prints from the Paul Strand Archive, which has made the institution the largest and most comprehensive repository of his work.  Pictured: Anna Attinga Frafra, Accra, Ghana, 1964 (negative); 1964 (print).


    To submit an event to be considered for the Weekly Entertainment Guide email Robin Bloom at artscalendar@whyy.org.

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