STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
The following is a quick look at a sampling of events in the region:
It’s two days of free family fun in the hometown of marshmallow Peeps, Bethlehem. Presented by Just Born Quality Confections and held at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Peepsfest features kid-friendly bands, magicians, a Family Disco Lounge, clowns, balloon making and more from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 30 and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 31. There’s a 5K set for 11 a.m. Dec. 31. Registration is $35 and can be done at www.active.com.
Call (610) 297-7100 or check out a detailed schedule at www.steelstacks.org/peepsfest/activities.
2016 Philadelphia Mummers Parade
This Jan. 1, the parade pays tribute to the city’s ever-growing cultural and ethnic diversity with a new Philadelphia Division, which will lead the parade. The costumed dancing and strutting begins at 9 a.m. The parade route will take the performing groups — Philadelphia Division, Fancy, the Wench brigades, Comics, and String Bands — down Broad Street from City Hall to Washington Avenue. Spectators can enjoy the parade from three performance zones. The Grand Stand entertainment zone, on Dilworth Plaza at 15th and Market streets, will feature more than 1,200 ticketed bleacher seats. Additional drill spots are located at the Union League at Broad and Sansom streets and at Broad and Carpenter streets.
A cross between a Broadway show and Mardi Gras, the Mummers Fancy Brigade Finale is a two-and-a-half-hour showcase of 11 choreographed routines set to music at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 11th and Arch streets, Philadelphia. Reserved center section tickets for the noon family show and the 5 p.m. judged show are $25; reserved seats and the two side sections are $20. Tickets for groups of 15 or more are $18 and $23. Groups greater than 45 receive two complimentary tickets. Children 3 and younger are admitted free. Food and refreshments are available for purchase at both shows. Visit www.comcasttix.com or call (800) 298-4200. Tickets can also be purchased at the Independent Visitors Center.
Another family-friendly activity for fans is MummersFest at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, a four-day intereactive festival from Dec. 28-31 where attendees can make-n-take crafts, try on mummers costumes for picture taking, watch the clubs rehearse their drills and get a 30-minute backstage tour of the show props and floats. Hours are 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 31. Tickets are available at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Independence Visitors Center and via ComcastTix, for $4 per person.
For more information, visit www.phillymummers.com.
At The Kimmel Center
The Kimmel Center’s New Year’s Day Celebration from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Jan. 1 features a variety activities and performances, along with a birds-eye view of the Mummers Parade.
This year’s celebration will include: The Kimmel Center’s Resolution Wall where patrons are invited to share their New Year’s resolutions for all to see, a free Hot Chocolate Lounge with fun mix-in ingredients for children 12 and under, provided by Garces Events; performances by Dancing with the Students, Steve Pullara and The Cool Beans Band, Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra, and the Broadway Dreams Foundation; organ demonstrations every hour on the hour from noon until 4 p.m. in Verizon Hall; family-friendly activities including the Greater Philadelphia Paper Pholders, face painting and balloon art, roaming jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers, a craft lounge, ticket giveaways, and more.
For an additional fee, ($55 in advance / $65 at the door / $27 under 21 non-alcoholic buffet), patrons can get access to Garces Group’s New Year’s Day VIP Experience featuring unlimited food and drink for four hours. View the parade outside on the Tier Two Terrace and stay warm inside the Garces Lounge. Tickets are available through the Kimmel Center’s website www.kimmelcenter.org
SugarHouse, 1001 N. Delaware Ave., Philadelphia, is establishing itself as a destination to catch the New Year’s Eve fireworks displays at 6 p.m. and midnight on the Delaware River waterfront.
In a press release, SugarHouse Casino general manager Wendy Hamilton said: “Fireworks and Mummers are two Philadelphia traditions we’re proud to be a part of every New Year. This was a big year for us and 2016 will be even more amazing as the bigger, better SugarHouse expands with new restaurants, amenities and a unique event space experience overlooking the Delaware River.”
On Dec. 31, it’s a “New Year’s Eve Party through the Decades” celebration, featuring live music at 10 p.m. by Don’t Call Me Francis, accented by views of the waterfront, the fireworks and the Ben Franklin Bridge. After the fireworks, you’re welcome to stay, dance and party with the band until 2 a.m.
Tickets are $75 and include an open bar, appetizers and a champagne toast, with a private viewing area for the Delaware River waterfront fireworks at midnight. Guests are encouraged to purchase in advance at www.sugarhousecasino.com and must be 21 or older.
SugarHouse Casino will extend its free SugarExpress Center City trolley service through 3 a.m. on New Year’s Eve. The complete route is on the SugarHouse website.
On Jan. 1, the Mummers Parade celebration begins in The Refinery with the annual Mummers Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy made-to-order omelets, eggs Benedict, baron of beef, French toast, a mashed potato bar and more for $24.95 per person, including tax and gratuity. Plus, enjoy music from the Jon Pruit Jazz Trio and indulge in bloody Mary and mimosa specials for $4. Rush Rewards card members can then ride the free Mummers Parade Party Bus over to the parade route.
Festive and frugal
Some not-so-expensive ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve that come recommended by the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board include:
•Ardmore Music Hall’s all-day celebration, with a morning session geared toward children, and party time for the adults starting at 8:30 p.m. The evening entertainment is by PhillyBloco, a 23-piece ensemble that blends Brazilian, samba, funk and reggae sounds.
•El Poquito on Germantown Avenue offers a multicultural New Year’s, mixing a little mariachi with the Mummer’s strut. The party, which runs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., has open bar, tacos, guacamole and chips.
•New Year’s at the Water Tower in Oaks offers the chance to play like a kid and then party like and adult. Tickets include access to go-karts, laser tag, unlimited bowling and the arcade. At 9 p.m., it’s live music by The Sofa Kings, a 10-piece band.
•Celebrate the New Year with the kids at the third annual Lulu’s Casita White Party in Ardmore, a countdown to noon fiesta. Enjoy pizza, refreshments, arts and crafts and live music from 10 a.m. to noon. The toast will be with apple juice for kids and champagne for parents.
•The New Year’s Eve gala at Sunnybrook Ballroom in Lower Pottsgrove is customizable. A cocktail package features open bar and hors d’oeuvres from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dinner, which includes entrees, dessert, tax and gratuity, can be added. Dance to the sounds of The Bachelor Boys Band.
•Doors at Presidential Caterers in Norristown open at 8 p.m. on Dec. 31, with a dinner and dancing celebration that lasts until the confetti stops falling at 1 a.m. There will be non-stop music alternating between a band and a DJ.
•Even though Brittingham’s Pub in Lafayette Hill has an Irish accent, they’re giving a shout-out to the Austrian/Swedish/German New Year’s good luck pork dinner with the band Go HAM (Get it?) during its Dec. 31 celebration. Midnight brings a pub-wide champagne toast.
•Count down to 2016 with The Count in the family-friendly setting of Sesame Place in Langhorne. Enjoy a celebratory meal, ring in the New Year and snap the last of those holiday photographs with favorite “Sesame Street” friends. At 6:30 p.m., right after the Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade, the skies above the park light up with fireworks.
•The unseasonably warm weather means conditions for ice skating are better indoors. Join in a skating party 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 31 at Hatfield Ice Arena, 350 County Line Road, Hatfield Township.
•New Year’s resolutions often are goals like getting in shape or being more altruistic. Why not do both at the Run for Jack New Year’s 5K in Bryn Mawr. Featuring a 5K run, one-mile walk, and a kids’ 50-yard dash, this event benefits Jack Cavanaugh, a 2-year-old with a rare condition affecting the growth of his joints and limbs.
•The Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ offers a whole day of celebration for the younger set (10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.), including a view of the late afternoon fireworks over the waterfront. The over-21s take over at 8 p.m. (VIP ticketholders) or 9 p.m. (general admission) for food, beverages, dancing and the midnight fireworks display.
•Dave and Buster’s in Plymouth Meeting says farewell to 2015 with a package for kids under 4 that covers video games on the Million Dollar Midway and entertainment, like a magician and DJ (with a balloon drop). Older kids and adults can enjoy game play, performances and a buffet that includes an ice cream station.
•Get your New Year off to an artistic start with the 10:30 a.m. class at Painting with a Twist in Skippack. The subject is a festive snowman. Beverages and snacks are bring-your-own.
•Colebrookdale Railroad, which runs from Boyertown to Pottstown, has Snowflake Special (10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) trains and Starlight Express (6 p.m.) trains that run Dec. 26-30.
Stumped on where to have New Year’s Eve dinner?:
§At Farmer’s Daughter in Whitpain, the prix fixe four-course dinner can begin with a charcuterie and cheese board and move onto favorites like lobster bisque and a 16-ounce ribeye.
§Malvern’s Historic General Warren Restaurant has entrées that include sautéed lump crab cake and New Zealand rack of lamb.
§Creekside Sports Bar at the Landis Creek Golf Club in Limerick kicks off with a DJ before switching to a country cover band. Just prior to midnight, the big countdown begins, and champagne toast sets the confetti flying.
§Dip into 2016 at The Melting Pot in King of Prussia, where dinner opens with a macaroni and five-cheese first course. A kids’ menu is also available.
§Blackfish BYOB in Conshohocken offers a prix fixe New Year’s dining experience.
§The historic Blue Bell Inn has seen 272 New Year’s celebrations, going back to its founding in 1743.
§Going to be out by Lancaster on New Year’s Eve? Then try to hit Sight & Sound Theater’s production of “The Miracle of Christmas,” the spectacle of Koziar’s Christmas Village, and the Shady Maple Smorgasbord’s comprehensive buffet.
§Village Wine Cellar in Skippack has seatings at 5, 7 and 9 p.m., with a four-course dining experience.
§The Washington House in Sellersville serves a five-course dinner with champagne toast. The nearby Sellersville Theater has two performances (7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.) with Dr. K’s Motown Revue.
§The Woodside Lodge at Spring Mountain in Lower Frederick Township will have a prix fixe menu and seatings at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
§The Holiday Inn in Towamencin’s New Year’s Eve package bundles together tickets for two adults for a three-hour premium open bar, hors d’oeuvres station, champagne toast at midnight and a DJ. The next morning, enjoy a breakfast buffet for two and a late check out.
See more on the VFTCB website at www.valleyforge.org.