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Ring in the New Year at First Night

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Ring in the New Year at First Night

First Night, Northwest Arkansas’ no-alcohol family New Year’s Eve celebration, will be Dec. 31 at the Northwest Arkansas Mall. Activities will take place both inside and outside the mall.
One of the highlights will be the Ozark Blues Society’s Blues Stage. Something new in the blues stage area is the Blu-Zoo, an “instrument petting zoo” for kids. OBS will be giving away 50 student harmonicas to the winners of a drawing and the kids will be invited to a harp blowout.

First Night activities will begin at 6 p.m. with a giant puppet parade in the parking lot near JC Penney. Indoor activities will begin at 6:45 p.m. First Night will close with fireworks at midnight. Tickets are $5 for children 3-12 and $10 for adults. For a schedule and tickets go to www.firstnightfayetteville.org.

Party Down the Last Night
If you subscribe to the theory that kicking out the jams on the last night of the year is the way to go, you’ve got lots of choices in NWA.

The hip and creative will be at The OPO at the Urban Table on the Fayetteville square where Art Amiss will host the second annual Blue Masquerade. This is a great venue for an event like this. There will be two levels filled with video installations, costumed models and music by DJ Shortfuze, EQ, Beat Bachs and Bizar. Anyone who’s been around the SF Bay Area, will think Anon Salon—on a smaller scale, of course.
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On Dickson Street, George’s will be having some of NWA’s hottest acts, Benjamin Del Shreve, Fayetteville Funk Ensemble, Apartment 5 and Very Special Guests. Tickets are $15 and are available now.

Up the street at Froggy’s, the first 100 folks will get in free and after that it’s a bargain $5. But the low price doesn’t reflect the quality of the music, which will be NAMA Hall of Fame rockers, Hunkr Down. Froggy’s opened in 2008, so they’re keeping the cover low as a thank you to their patrons.

Fans of Boom Kinetic (formerly Molten Lava) will be packing into the UARK Ballroom on Dickson for New Year’s Eve. Tickets are $25 general and $75 reserved and are available at George’s.

We hear that there will be a musicians jam at The Gypsy on North College Avenue, if you’re looking for a spot away from Dickson Street.

And, if you want a more laidback night, or want to start the club crawl with a fancy dinner, the historic Inn at Carnall Hall on the University of Arkansas campus, just a block from Dickson, has several packages. For $70 a person, enjoy a five-course dinner at Ella’s and if you want to add wine with each course, bump the ticket to $90 a person. Or, start with dinner and tickets to the Boom Kinetic show for $250 a couple. If you want to dine at Ella’s, dance with Boom Kinetic and spend the night at the inn, your tab will be $425 a couple, which includes a buffet breakfast on New Year’s Day. For those who want to stay-in, but want a memorable New Year’s Eve, for $375 a couple you can dine at Ella’s, stay at the inn and watch the ball drop from your room with a complimentary bottle of champagne and snacks. Playing at Ella’s will be the fantastic jazz group Pentomino Players.

Some folks like to spend New Year’s Eve in the nearby village of Eureka Springs and that’s always fun. Eureka is a spa town with great gourmet restaurants, so if you go early, you can enjoy some spa time before you go out for the big night. There are many hotels in all price ranges where you can bed down. In addition to the historic hotels, we like the Joy motel. Our pick for music is Opal Fly & Thy Faery Pranksters at Chelsea’s. So head north, party and then enjoy a brisk walk in this mountaintop village on New Year’s Day.

The magic of “The Wizard of Oz,” will come to the Walton Arts Center for a five day run beginning Jan. 6. Young actors from Northwest Arkansas’ Tricycle Theatre will join the cast of the national tour company as munchkins for the NWA shows. The musical will feature classic songs “Over the Rainbow,” “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” and “If I Only Had A Brain.” Performance at 7 p.m. Jan. 6, 7, 8, 11 at 8 p.m. Jan. 9, 10 and at 2 p.m. Jan. 10, 11. Tickets are $20-$58.

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