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Countdown events on Crystal Coast

DEC. 28-JAN. 1 Morehead City

Countdown events on Crystal Coast

2012 ends with a five-day, all-ages festival on the Crystal Coast – Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort, N.C., Pine Knoll Shores and Newport. New Year’s Eve will feature a “Crab Pot Drop” countdown in Morehead City with live music and fireworks. New Year’s Day events include a Penguin Plunge and sand-sculpting contest – both at Atlantic Beach – and a ranger-led tour of Fort Macon State Park. There is admission charged for some events; discount cards are available online. For a full schedule of events, go to www.crystalcoastcountdown.com..


DEC. 31-JAN. 1 Wilmington area

Toast 2012-2013 at the coast

New Year’s events for adults and kids are on tap in the Wilmington area. The New Year’s Noon Countdown at the Children’s Museum (11 a.m.-1 p.m.) features crafts (streamers, noisemakers), singing and dancing with a “countdown” to 12 o’clock at the museum, 116 Orange St., Wilmington. Admission: $8; $7 for 60 and older and for military with ID; younger than 1, free. Details: www.playwilmington.org.

From 9 p.m. Dec. 31 until 12:30 the next day/year, the Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Countdown Party, Street Dance & Fireworks Extravaganza features the lowering of a giant lighted beach ball at midnight, plus fireworks shot over the ocean. The free-admission event is at Kure Beach Pier, K Avenue, Kure Beach. Details: www.islandoflights.org/newyears.html.


JAN. 1 Asheville

Discount season coming to Biltmore

Jan. 1 through March 31 – a slower time at Biltmore Estate – is also when your visit there can cost less. Seasonal specials include lowest admission of the year, beginning at $35 when purchased seven days (or more) in advance online or over the phone. Tickets include a free audio guide of Biltmore House and, for a limited time, access to additional rooms in the house. Visitors 16 and younger also get in free with an adult admission. Details: www.biltmore.com.


JAN. 2-4 Hendersonville

Experience communicating in Braille

At downtown Hendersonville’s kids’ museum, Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, World Braille Day will be celebrated Jan. 2-4. Visitors can learn to write their names in Braille, experience Braille books, and find out how six dots changed the world. Admission to the museum, 318 N. Main St., is $5. Details: www.handsonwnc.org.

John Bordsen, jbordsen@charlotteobserver.com

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