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Time to party! New Year's Eve events for all ages

By Hilary Trenda and Brittney Cason
htrenda@charlotteobserver.com

Whether you want to ring in 2013 with a rowdy crowd of confetti-covered strangers or on a quieter, smaller scale, local New Year’s Eve celebrations aren’t hard to find. Here are a handful that caught our eye. (Remember to take a taxi and a brush up on the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne.”)

Family-friendly

First Night: This alcohol-free salute to community celebration and visual/performance art is back for its fifth year. Events are held at NASCAR Hall of Fame; WBT’s “Holiday on Ice” rink; Charlotte Convention Center’s stage and outdoor terrace; Wells Fargo Atrium; The Green; and Duke Energy Main Stage at Levine Avenue of the Arts. Adult wristbands are $10; kids 5-12 are $5 with a banded adult, 4 and younger are admitted free.

First Night Kids runs noon-5 p.m. and is geared towards families with kids ages 2-10, with storytellers, puppets, mascots, circus performers, dancing and more. Kids Countdown will be 4:40-5 p.m. on Duke Energy Main Stage.

First Night Charlotte is 7-11 p.m. and features silent disco, a mocktail booth, aerialists and entertainment for teens and adults.

“Countdown to Midnight” is 10 p.m.-midnight at Duke Energy main stage, featuring the dance band “Simply Irresistible.”

Details: www.firstnightcharlotte.com.

John Tosco’s third annual variety show: The Tosco Music Party founder’s event is reminiscent of “The Ed Sullivan Show” and features comedy, dance, music and more. 8-10 p.m. at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. Tickets are $20.12. Details: www.ncbpac.org.

For the adults

Soul in the City: The South Charlotte Chapter of Jack & Jill America will host its annual NYE party 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture (551 S. Tryon St.). Tickets are $75 per person (tax-deductible) and include the nouveau Soul Food buffet, cash bar, live and dance music, silent auction and the chance to be the last guests to view the “America I AM: The African American Imprint” exhibit in Charlotte.Details: www.southcharlottejj.org.

Boom! New Year’s Eve Bash: Tickets to last year’s event sold out in two days. This year’s party runs 9 p.m.-2 a.m. at VBGB (920 Hamilton St.) and will include buffet, one drink on the house, and DJ on the tented, heated patio/dance floor. Tickets are $55 for men and $45 for women. Details: www.vbgbuptown.com or in person at VBGB or NoDa Brewing (2229 N. Davidson St.).

Rich and Bennett’s NYE Bash: Phoenix Nightclub (300 N. College St.) hosts three levels of partying, two DJs, party favors and a balloon drop and confetti cannons at midnight. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $55-$75 (includes beer, liquor, wine, champagne and appetizers from Cosmos). Details: www.rockhouseevents.com.

Back to the Future NYE Bash: At Roxbury Nightclub (116 W. Fifth St.), DJ Jody spins hits from the ’80s and ’90s. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $20. Details: 704-375-8090.

RE:GENESIS: The Sound Council greets the new year at Central Station (2131 Central Ave.) with a glow-friendly 18-and-older party featuring music from Krikett, Madinfluence, Theoretical and more. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. $5 cover. Details: 704-313-4430.

NYE x 2: Big Ben’s British Pub and Restaurant (2000 South Blvd.) will celebrate twice: One countdown will be held at 7 p.m. (midnight in London), and the second will take place in local time. Both celebrations will feature entertainment, champagne and party favors at both seatings. Table reservations are going quick, so calling ahead is strongly recommended. Details: 704-817-9697; www.bigbenpub.com.

Livin’ it up at the hotel: The New Year’s Eve party at The Westin (601 S. College St.) is conveniently located – if you pop too much champagne, you can just get a room. DJ Lil Betty spins. 9:30 p.m. No cover; VIP tables (including one bottle of premium champagne and seating for six) are $175. www.cltfun.com. Also at the Westin: Charlotte Salsa Dance Company hosts a Latin Dance Party 9 p.m.-2 a.m. in two of the hotel’s ballrooms. $25 person, or $40 couple. Details: 704-449-8112.

Dinner and a show: The Comedy Zone (900 NC Music Factory Blvd.) will host two shows featuring headliner Shaun Jones and Carmen Morales: the 8 p.m. dinner show and the 10:15 “Welcoming the New Year” show. The latter will include final countdown to 2013 with champagne toast and party favors. General admission tickets for both shows range from $20 to $30 with dinner and dessert packages available. Details: 980-321-4702; www.cltcomedyzone.com.

Dinner and a murder mystery: The Old Courthouse Theatre presents its 22nd annual NYE murder mystery dinner theater and silent auction. Festivities begin at 7:30 p.m. in the fifth-floor ballroom at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “Dealt a Deadly Hand – Murder at the Pocono Royale Casino” spoofs “Casablanca” and the dream of hitting the jackpot. $85 per person/$170 per couple includes appetizers, dinner, dessert, wine, champagne toast, party favors, murder mystery and DJ. Details: www.oldcourthousetheatre.org.

Dinner and a party: City Tavern in SouthPark (4331 Barclay Downs Drive) offers a four-course meal for less than $40, then you can burn it off on the dance floor as DJ Rob Reeves spins. Free cover until 10 p.m.; $10 thereafter. Details: 704-442-4000.

Another dinner and a party: The Grand New Year’s Eve party at 5 Church (127 N. Tryon St.) features a lavish four-course meal, champagne and beats by DJ Edward Shouse. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Levine Children’s Hospital. First seating ($85) is at 5:30 p.m.; second seating ($150) is at 9 p.m. Details: 704-919-1322.

And another: Celebrate the new year on the waters of Lake Norman with three different cruise options. All include a dinner buffet (tickets start at $75 per person) and the pricier packages ($110-$175 per person) include hotel room and transportation to and from Queen’s Landing, 1459 River Highway, Mooresville. The Catawba Queen boards at 8:30 p.m., departs at 9 p.m. and returns at 12:30 a.m.; Lady of the Lake boards at 9 p.m., departs at 9:30 p.m. and returns at 1 a.m. Details: www.queenslanding.com.

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