This article was originally published in our sister paper, U.S. 1 Newspaper.
With New Year’s Eve on a Sunday, there are more opportunities to close out the holidays and welcome the new year. Here is a countdown to holiday celebrations.
1 p.m. The Tony Award-winning McCarter Theater provides the last chance to catch its colorful and touching production of “A Christmas Carol.” Playwright David Thompson adapted the famous Charles Dickens tale, former McCarter associate artistic director Adam Immerwahr directs, and veteran stage performer Greg Wood “nails it” as Ebenezer Scrooge. $26 to $77.
McCarter Theater, 92 University Place, Princeton. 609-258-2787 or mccarter.org.
2 p.m. Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope puts the lights on for the final showing of its world premiere holiday show, “Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG Playhouse Christmas Show.” Being touted as a “riotous mashup” with a “Saturday Night Live-inspired twist,” it promises to end the year with a smile. $40 to $75.
Bucks County Playhouse, 70 South Main, New Hope. 215-862-2121 or bcptheater.org.
6 to 8 p.m. The Lawrenceville Historical Society’s annual Hogmanay is the large bonfire blazing at the 1761 Brearley House. A Hogmanay is a Scottish tradition where you write down your woes and toss it in the blaze to prepare for a new year. It’s a free family-friendly event that includes bagpipe music, hot beverages, and donuts.
Brearley House is located at 100 Meadow Road, just past the lights at Lenox Drive and Lewisville Road in Lawrence. A sign for the Brearley House marks the intersection. thelhs.org.
6 p.m. The Strauss Symphony of America returns to the State Theater in New Brunswick for its 12th annual presentation to usher in 2018, “Salute to Vienna.” Conductor Bernhard Schneider oversees the festive mix of orchestra, European vocalists, and ballet and ballroom dancers. $55 to $125.
State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. Saturday, 732-246-7469 or statetheatrenj.org.
7 and 9 p.m. The Villagers Theater’s annual New Year’s Eve offering is a “Tribute to Motown.” As usual there are two shows. The first includes the show with orchestra and vocalists, $25. The later presentation includes the show with orchestra and vocalists and a post-show dinner party — with hot and cold buffet, coffee, dessert, and champagne toast in the company’s decorated black box theater. $65.
Villagers Theater, 475 De Mott Lane, Somerset. 732-873-2710 or villagerstheatre.com.
8 p.m. The Capital Philharmonic celebrates with its annual New Year’s Eve Concert at the Trenton War Memorial. The program features a blend of symphonic and popular music, including “The Skater’s Waltz,” Gershwin songs for Hollywood films, film composer John Williams’ arrangement of the tango from “Scent of a Woman,” and more. Daniel Spalding conducts and WWFM radio director David Osenberg hosts the “live from Trenton” broadcast. $10 to $75.
1 Memorial Drive, Trenton. capitalphilharmonic.org.
For those welcoming 2018, there are several options ranging from the quiet to the verbose.
First Day Hike is the natural way to ease into the new year. Organized by the National Association of State Park Director, the project encourages people to get out and get healthy. There are two free hikes scheduled for the region:
10 a.m. to noon. Washington Crossing State Park staff members will present an easy, 1.2-mile guided walk of the route taken by the Continental Army on Christmas Night, 1776, when they crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey. Sights and stops include the Washington Crossing Bridge, Nelson House, Ferry Boat replica, pedestrian bridge, Stone Barn, and the Johnson Ferry House. The hike starts at McKonkey’s Ferry Tavern in Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania and ends at Washington Crossing State Park. Free; register. 609-737-2515 or 609-737-0623.
Noon to 2 p.m. The Princeton Nursery Lands Hike in the Mapleton Preserve is an easy 1.5-mile loop through the preserve area and the D&R Canal State Park. Meet at Mapleton Preserve/D&R Canal State Park Headquarters at 145 Mapleton Road in Kingston. Free. 609-683-0483 or fpnl.org.
For those looking for something on the wilder side, we’ll go to Philadelphia, where the 117th annual Mummers Parade is a colorful, zany, corny, zippy, and historic way to start the year. According to promotional materials, the event features “10,000 men, women, and children dressed in colorfully lavish costumes twirl, sashay, pirouette, and strut down one of the city’s main streets.”
The event starts at 9 a.m. at Philadelphia’s City Hall, at the intersection of Broad and Market streets, and then follows a 1.1-mile path down South Broad Street. Along the way bands and groups stop at various intersections to perform and play for — and sometimes with — viewers.
It’s the oldest folk parade of its kind in the nation, rooted in ancient European practices and with “mummery” (or dressing up) came to the Philadelphia area in the 1600s when Swedish settlers celebrated the holidays with costumes, songs, food and booze, and gunfire. Eventually it became an organized New Year’s event that marches along with the march of time. Festivities continue on South Broad to 6 p.m. Public transportation from Trenton to Philadelphia’s Suburban Station is a good idea, but brave drivers should be able to find free parking. visitphilly.com/events/philadelphia/the-mummers-parade.
For those who need an earful of thought, then head to the 44th annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading at the Poetry Project of Saint Marks Church, 131 East 10th Street (at 2nd Avenue) in New York City. Organizers call it “an untamed gathering of the heart’s secret.” But what would you expect by nonstop readings of more than 140 poets, including PBS radio’s Andre Codrescu and beat poet Anne Waldman? The event is both a major fundraiser for the long-standing poetry project and one of the nation’s biggest festivals of its kind. $20 to $25. 212-674-0910 or poetryproject.org.