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WEEKEND FUN GRAB BAG: New Year’s celebrations and more

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WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
bbingaman@21st-centurymedia.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter

American celebrity
Betsy Ross House: It’s a Betsy’s Birthday Bash from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 31 at the historic site at 239 Arch St., Philadelphia. The seamstress and flag maker was born Jan. 1, 1752. Admission is $5, $4 for children, seniors, students and military personnel. For more information, call (215) 686-1252 or visit www.historicphiladelphia.org.
Back-to-work day
Pottsgrove Manor: In medieval Europe, the day after Epiphany was known as Distaff Day (the distaff was a tool used in spinning), when women resumed their work after the 12 days of Christmas. See spinning demonstrations in honor of Distaff Day 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 7 at the historic site at 100 W. King St., Pottstown. Suggested donation is $2 per person.
Owl encounter
Norristown Farm Park: Learn about “The Owls of Pennsylvania” with an educator from Elmwood Park Zoo at 2 p.m. Jan. 8, which includes the opportunity to get close to some live owls. Pre-register at (610) 270-0215. Suggested donation is $3 per person for this program for ages 6 and up.
Music highlights
World Cafe Live: The Light of Day Foundation, which raises money to defeat and awareness of Parkinson’s disease and ALS, presents an upstairs concert with Sharon Little, Eric Bazilian, Ben Arnold, Jeffrey Gaines, Willie Nile, Joe D’Urso, Chuck Prophet and Soraia at 8 p.m. Jan.7 at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. See http://philly.worldcafelive.com.
Kimmel Center: Celebrate and welcome 2017 with the Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert, featuring the Strauss Symphony of America, a cast of European singers, ballet and costumed ballroom dancers that will waltz you through romantic vignettes. The program starts at 8 p.m. Dec. 30 at 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia. Tickets start at $46 and are available at www.kimmelcenter.org and (215) 893-1999.
Cheltenham Center for the Arts: Jazz Bridge’s “Jazz @ The Center” First Wednesday Neighborhood Concerts Series features The Landham Brothers at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at center, 439 Ashbourne Road, Cheltenham. Tickets are $10, $5 for students, free for children under 12. Call (215) 280-2254 or (215) 517-8337 or visit www.jazzbridge.org/events/neighborhood-concerts.
Happy New Year
New Year’s Eve in Philly: The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest offers one of the good views of the fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Go ice skating at the waterfront rink and enjoy music, food, drinks and other entertainment. Dec. 31 skating sessions are 5 to 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Blue Cross RiverRink is at 101 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia. Cost is $30 for spectator tickets, $40 for skater tickets. Check www.delawareriverwaterfront.com.
SugarHouse Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Ave., Philadelphia, hosts a celebration, starting at 10 p.m. Dec. 31, with an open bar, live music from Burnt Sienna, complimentary champagne toast, a private viewing area for the midnight fireworks display over the Delaware River and more. Cost is $80. Visit www.sugarhouseentertainment.com.
“New Year’s Funkin’ Eve at FringeArts” will have live music, beer garden fire pits, balloons and more. It starts at 11 p.m. at 140 N. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia. Tickets are $49. Find out more at www.fringearts.com.
XFinity Live!’s got five parties under one roof New Year’s Eve, starting at 9 p.m. Tickets are $100 ($135 for the VIP option) and include a drink package, food buffets, live performances by Split Decision and other artists, dancing and a midnight ball drop celebration complete with a champagne toast. XFinity Live! is at 1100 Pattison Ave., Philadelphia.
Silent Philly presents a music-filled party on headphones to ring in the New Year from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. New Year’s Eve at 2300 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia. Revelers can jam out to one of three stations via provided headphones that light up different colors depending on what station they choose. Each station features a different DJ spinning certain tunes — ’80s, ’90s, 2000s; house, EDM and pop; or hip-hop and reggae. Ticket packages range from $30-$175 per person. See www.silentphilly.com/nye/2016.
SteelStacks: Peeps Fest, the annual two-day New Year’s Eve festival, returns to SteelStacks in Bethlehem Dec. 30-31. Family-friendly activities include an even-larger giant Pepps Chick (which will drop New Year’s Eve), fireworks, make your own noisemakers with the Banana Factory Arts Center, make your own menorahs with the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, the Peeps Olympics, Da Vinci Science Center’s “Using the Force” presentation, live animal presentations by Wildlands Conservancy and Dutch Springs’ “Rub a Dub Dub, Scuba in a Tub” and more. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 30 and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Admission is free, although a few select activities, such as the Family Disco Lounge and Peeps Fest 5K, require an additional charge. Visit www.steelstacks.org/peepsfest.
Sesame Place: C is for celebrate at the theme park at 100 Sesame Road, Lanhorne. Starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 rock out with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster and Count von Count in the Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade, and then a New Year’s Eve fireworks show set to “Sesame Street” music starting at 6:25. Tickets are $27, with the option of adding a Fireworks Grab Bag. Visit www.sesameplace.com.
Kimmel Center: It’s a New Year’s Day Celebration Jan. 1 on the Commonwealth Plaza. The Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, opens its door throughout the day offering a warm space filled with activities and performances, along with a birds-eye view of the Mummers Parade.
Philadelphia Mummers Parade: The 2017 kicks off at 9 a.m. Jan. 1. The parade travels south down Broad Street, from City Hall to Washington Avenue. A number of museums, ice skating rinks and other attractions will be open on New Year’s Day. Go to www.mrmummer.com to see the schedule and brigade/string band order.
Happy Noon Year
Ardmore Music Hall: In case you’re confused by the name, the New Year’s Eve (Day) Family Jam happens in the morning. Starting at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 31, it’s music by Alex & the Kaleidoscope, brunch, balloons, face painting, DJ Mighty Flipside and more. Tickets are $15, $20 at the door. Ardmore Music Hall is at 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore. Go to www.ardmoremusic.com.
Lansdale Public Library: Gather at the library on New Year’s Eve at 11:15 a.m. for a kid-friendly countdown to noon. The library is at 301 Vine St., Lansdale. Call (215) 855-3228.
Please Touch Museum: The “Countdown to Noon” Dec. 31 features ball drops at noon and 1 p.m. Advance tickets are $20, $25 at the door, $5 for members. The museum is at 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia.
Bounce U, Langhorne: Countdown to Noon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 31 at 2221 Cabot Blvd. West, Suite C, Langhorne. Parents get in free, bouncers are $12.95. Call (215) 752-9728.
Go down in history
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology: The Penn Museum is at 3260 South St., Philadelphia. General admission is $15, $13 for seniors 65+, $10 for children 6-17 and students. Call (215) 898-4000 or see www.penn.museum.
At 6 p.m. Jan. 4, learn about “The Hobbits of Flores Island: Myth, Magic, Majesty of Homo Floresiensis” with the Penn Museum’s Dr. Janet Monge. At just 3 and a half feet tall and about 75 pounds, the hobbit-like Homo Floresiensis is the smallest adult skeletal specimen in the whole of human evolutionary history. Some have claimed that it’s a pathological specimen, showing features of microcephaly, Down syndrome or dwarfism. Others consider it to be a human species which became extinct when modern humans arrived on the island. Admission is $5 in advance, $10 at the door.
Children 3–6, and their favorite grownups, are invited to explore the Penn Museum’s galleries through stories, crafts and play with an Egyptian themed Gallery Romp from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Jan. 7.
“40 Winks with the Sphinx” invites children 6-12 and their families or chaperones to take an overnight sleepover “expedition” of the museum from 5 p.m. Jan. 7 to 9 a.m. Jan. 8. The night’s activities include games, crafts, a scavenger hunt and more. Advance registration is required at www.penn.museum/40winks and is $55 per person.
Farm show time
Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex: The 2017 farm show runs Jan. 6-14 at 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg. Check out competitive and commerical exhibits, food, rodeo competition, wine, tractor square dancing, equine showcases, butter sculpture, cooking demonstrations and the Thermador Chefs Challenge, lumberjack demonstrations and more. Parking is $15. Get the schedules at www.farmshow.state.pa.us/page/show.aspx.
Yuck, what’s that?
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University: Dec. 30 is “Weird-Things-In-Jars Day.” Get an up-close look at preserved animals and learn how scientists preserve them in jars, and other ways, for future research. At the 1 p.m. “Wild Weirdos” show, find out which of the academy’s live animals have the strangest adaptations and behaviors. At 2 p.m., it’s “Armadillo Romp Time,” when you can observe the armadillo’s odd feeding habits. Design a diorama to take home. Also, for the first time in memory, the academy, located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, will be open on New Year’s Day. For more details and to purchase discounted tickets online, visit www.ansp.org.

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