Ready to ring in the New Year? Robin Bloom shares her recommendations for countdowns, concerts, comedy, and fireworks in the Philadelphia region.
Fancy the Mummers
Cold noses are a small price to pay to witness glockenspiels, gowns, clowns, sequins, confetti and lots of men and women in dresses strutting down Broad Street! Enjoy Philadelphia’s Mummers as they welcome 2017 just as they have rung in just about every New Year for more than a century. The parade begins at 9am at City Hall, down Broad Street to Washington Avenue. Viewing areas include the Grand Stand on Dilworth Plaza at 15th and Market Streets and in front of the Philadelphia High School for Creative & Performing Arts. All the fun and fancy continues with two ticketed shows at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Photo courtesy of the Fancy Brigades Association. Catch MummersFest, through December 31, an interactive opportunity to try on costumes, watch the clubs rehearse, go on a backstage tour, make crafts and learn to strut.
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 6 p.m. 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, New Jersey. Again this year, the fireworks at midnight will be shown on large screens around town including the Lit Brothers Building (8th & Market), the cube at the Kimmel Center (Broad & Spruce), and Verifone screens in taxis. Also, the Cira Center will have a light show.
Visit the Adventure Aquarium for “New Year’s Eve Splash,” special extended hours through 6:00 p.m. with a DJ dance party and a chance to enjoy the fireworks over the Delaware. All activities included with Aquarium admission.
The Blue Cross RiverRink celebrates the New Year with two parties coinciding with the fireworks displays, including family activities and entertainment, food and ice-skating, Columbus Boulevard at Market Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Matt Stanley/DRWC.
Love at First Night
In Boston in 1975, a small local group of artists were inspired to create a new kind of New Year’s revelry emphasizing community spirit. Since then, New Year’s Eve arts festivals are celebrated in cities and towns across the nation including two in our region:
Celebrate on the boardwalk and beach in Ocean City beginning at 4 p.m. with musical performances including the Fabulous Grease Band, Ocean City Pops, and much more, along with children’s activities and boardwalk rides, concluding with fireworks at midnight. Buttons $20.
Haddonfield’s festivities begin at 6 p.m. with performances in a dozen venues along Kings Highway. The KidZone features Paisley Pickles, the Incredible Boris, and more. Headliners include the Trammps, Shawn Gerhard, Demetria Bailey, Hotsy Totsy, and more. Fireworks at 9 p.m. Buttons $15.
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 the Strauss Symphony of America, Imre Kollár, conductor (Budapest), Katarzyna Dondalska, soprano (Berlin–Warsaw), Zoltán Nyári, tenor (Budapest), and dancers from the National Ballet of Hungary and International Champion Ballroom Dancers, Saturday, December 31, 6 p.m., 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ.
The Philadelphia Orchestra rings in the new year with a program of Strauss, Bernstein, and Gershwin, with soprano Tracy Dahl and Bramwell Tovey conducting, Saturday, December 31, 7:30 p.m. Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia.
In Atlantic City
Atlantic City rings in the New Year with parties and concerts at many casinos and hotels, including Borgata, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s, Resorts, Bally’s, and the Tropicana, with fireworks at 9 p.m. One of the best places to view it will be on the Boardwalk between Morris and Iowa avenues. Photo by Ben Fogletto, Press of Atlantic City.
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 3 p.m. At 6 p.m., ring in the New Year with a “Square Drop” and see the city’s fireworks display, Saturday, December 31, 6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia (pictured). Enjoy a dance party and the final Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. Photo by Jeff Fusco.
Please Touch Museum hosts Countdown to Noon on Saturday, December 31. The museum will open at 9 a.m. with “Noon Year” party activities that lead up to a countdown bash at noon, and again at 1 p.m. The celebration includes music and other activities, 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 6 p.m. fireworks display from the 2nd floor balcony while enjoying a sparkling cider toast, Saturday, December 31, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia.
On December 31, celebrate the New Year and what would be the 265th birthday (January 1) of Philadelphia’s famous flag maker, Betsy Ross, with Betsy’s Birthday Bash, complete with crafts, cupcakes, and stories with Betsy herself, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., 239 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Free.
Spend the First Night of 2017 Aboard the Battleship New Jersey, Saturday, December 31, 5 p.m. Enjoy dinner and breakfast at the “chowline,” tour the ship, ride the flight simulator and sleep in the bunks that the crew of the USS New Jersey once did, plus take in the unique view of the New Year’s midnight fireworks from the deck of the Battleship, 100 Clinton Street, Camden, New Jersey.
Welcome 2017 with Midnight in the Square, Saturday, December 31 as the lighted mushroom falls in downtown Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. The celebration begins at 6 p.m. with entertainment, food, and activities culminating in the raising and lighting of the mushroom.
Splash the night away at Sahara Sam’s Oasis indoor water attractions with a DJ New Year’s Eve Party including admission to the Park, a foam party, food, champagne toast (sparkling cider toast for kids), and more, Saturday, December 31, 7 p.m. – 12:30 a.m., 535 North Route 73, West Berlin, New Jersey.
Garden State Discovery Museum hosts New Years at Noon (and 3 p.m.), Saturday, December 31, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m., with singing and dancing and more, 2040 Springdale Road, Suite 100, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
The Count’s New Year’s Eve Celebration takes place Saturday, December 31, 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. at Sesame Place, Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Six Flags Great Adventure rings in the New Year with a fireworks display at 9 p.m., Jackson, New Jersey.
Celebrate the New Year in Delaware with New Year’s Rockin’ Noon at the Delaware Children’s Museum, Saturday, December 31, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., with a performance by We Kids Rock, 550 Justison Street, Wilmington, Delaware. Ring in the New Year “zoo style” at Brandywine Zoo, Saturday, December 31, 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., with games, crafts, and a sparkling cider toast as the clock strikes 12. Also, say goodbye to Zhanna the tiger who moves to New York, 1001 North Park Drive, Brandywine Park, Wilmington, Delaware.
Ardmore Music Hall’s New Year’s Eve Day Family Jam with Alex & the Kaleidoscope Band is December 31, 10:30am-12:30pm, with a New Year’s ball dropping at noon. At night, enjoy Start Making Sense (Talking Heads tribute) and Band from Mars (David Bowie tribute), 9:30 pm (doors open at 9 p.m.), 23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
ComedySportz Philadelphia hosts the New Year’s Improvin’ Eve, two improv shows at 7:30 p.m. (for all ages including a countdown when it turns midnight in Brazil) and at 10:30 p.m. (for 18 years and up, including a midnight countdown). Ticket price includes the show, party favor, refreshments including pizza and soft drinks, and a sparkling cider toast, Saturday, December 31, Playground at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of ComedySportz.
Cedric the Entertainer’s New Year’s Eve Comedy Show comes to the Tower Theater, Saturday, December 31, 8 p.m., S. 69th Street, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.
NYE Concerts & Dance Parties
Dark Star Orchestra (pictured), known for recreating the music of the Grateful Dead, rings in the New Year with two shows at the Electric Factory, Friday, December 30, 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) and Saturday, December 31, 8:30 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.), with Keller Williams opening, 421 N. 7th Street, Philadelphia. Photo by Suzy Perler.
Spend New Year’s Eve with the David Bromberg Quintet at World Café Live, Saturday, December 31, 10 p.m. Marc Silver opens. Darla and Phil Nicolo’s Eve of Deconstruction perform upstairs at 10 p.m., 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. In Wilmington, Urban Shaman Attack featuring Ron Sutton Jr + The Late Saints start at 9 p.m., 500 North Market Street.
FringeArts hosts a New Year’s Eve party with Red 40 and the Last Groovement, December 31, 10:30 p.m., 140 N. Columbus Boulevard at Race Street, Philadelphia.
Catch the West Philadelphia Orchestra’s NYE Blowout with Johnny Showcase, December 31, 9 p.m. at Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia.
Dance the night away at Union Transfer at the Making Time New Year’s Eve, December 31, 9 p.m., 1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia.
Mary Fahl (formerly of October Project) comes to the Tin Angel, December 31, 9 p.m., for an intimate evening of audience requests, 20 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia.
Kurt Vile plays the Fillmore Philadelphia, Saturday, December 31, 8 p.m., with Woods and Nathan Bowles, 29 E. Allen Street, all ages, general admission.
Bluegrass band Cabinet plays the TLA with the Blind Owl Band and Mountain Ride, Saturday, December 31, 8:30 p.m., 334 South Street, Philadelphia.
Ring in the New Year with the Venissa Santi Quintet featuring Monnette Sudler, Saturday, December 31, 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., Chris’ Jazz Café, 1421 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
It’s free NYE at MilkBoy Philly, Saturday, December 31, 9 p.m. with Weird Science, 1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.
Ben Arnold and Friend’s New Year’s Eve Celebration is Saturday, December 31, 9 p.m., including a dessert buffet, champagne and more, Steel City Coffeehouse, 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
Spend New Year’s Eve with David Wax Museum, Kevin Manning, Auld Lang Syne at Johnny Brenda’s, Saturday, December 31, 9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.), 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia.
The Wall Live Extravaganza – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Pink Floyd takes place at the Keswick Theatre, as the characters from the album come to life onstage, performed for the first time anywhere, Saturday, December 31, 8 p.m., 291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, Pennsylvania.
Boot & Saddle hosts New Year’s Eve with TJ Kong And The Atomic Bomb, Mercury Radio Theater, and Levee Drivers, Saturday, December 31, 10 p.m. (doors open at 9 p.m.), 1131 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia.
Take advantage of free meter parking in Philadelphia after 11am on Saturdays through New Year’s.
Each week, the Entertainment Guide spotlights interesting local arts offerings happening now, including music, dance, theater, museums, special exhibitions and other arts events from across the region.
To submit an event to be considered, email Robin Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org.