What You’ll Do: Dec. 29-Jan. 1

December 29th, 2011 by Kim Lenz

Wrap up your 2011 in fine style by taking advantage of seasonal celebrations the tourists have been enjoying for the past month.

Should you find yourself wondering where we find all this great stuff to do – or maybe even why your fabulous, don’t-miss-it event isn’t listed – here’s the answer: We rely on our calendar (it’s called Talk of the Town, and it’s on the right-hand side of the WYDaily.com homepage) for our best bets. All are welcome to post their events on it, for free. So use it, please, and for events happening this weekend please share them below in the comments. To the weekend!

New Year’s Eve celebrations

Virginia Living Museum – Stay with us here – it’s ‘Noon Year’s Eve Day’ at the VLM. What’s that? The whole family can enjoy this day-time New Year’s celebration at the Virginia Living Museum, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Celebrate New Year’s around the world with carnival games, prizes, crafts and a world of fun. There will be a countdown at noon with a special guest. The VLM will have special activities to celebrate 2012, what will be the year of the dragon in China. Join us for crafts to make and take your own: crown, dragon puppet, New Year’s noisemaker, snowflake mandala, and dragon bookmark. Ring in the year with activities and games include an inflatable slide, tattoos, duck pond game, ring toss game, egg races, fishing game, Chinese zodiac challenge game and candy walk. Special guests include Bubbles the Clown, animal friends from the Teeny Tiny Farm, and VLM mascot “Bubbles the Otter.” Plus, there will be live animal shows where you can meet VLM critters up-close and personal. The Museum is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and special fees apply for some of the events. Click here for details.

First Night Williamsburg –
Technically, it is the last night but this event takes its name from the original event in Boston, a family-friendly celebration of the last night of the old year. The local event, First Night Williamsburg, will run at many different sites throughout the area from 3 p.m. to midnight. It’s a family-friendly, alcohol-free affair for all ages. There will be 40 live performers, food for sale, a kids show from 3 to 7 p.m. and main stage performances from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Midnight fireworks at Zable Stadium will cap the night – and begin the new year. Click here for details, including where to buy admission buttons for the events.

Happy Hogmanay – Celebrate the Scotsman’s greatest day at the DeWitt Wallace Museum on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with John Turner, David Gardner and Cliff Williams with songs, tunes and stories to say farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012. “Hogmanay” is is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner. Click here for details.

Illumination of the Palace Green – Before you begin your official ‘eve’ celebrations, stop by Colonial Williamsburg’s Palace Green in the Historic Area to enjoy the illumination of the CW buildings. Click here for more info.

Last chance for these seasonal events
Illumination of the Taverns –
Head to Duke of Gloucester Street Thursday evening for the annual illumination event, which starts at 6 p.m. Guests are invited to enjoy festive illuminations in the Historic Area. Click here for details.

Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center – These history museums that bookend the Colonial Parkway will offer a glimpse of 17th- and 18th-century holiday seasons during “A Colonial Christmas,” December 1-31. At Jamestown Settlement, a short holiday film and special interpretive programs compare and contrast English Christmas customs of the period with how the season may have been observed in the difficult early years of America’s first permanent English colony. Special tours will begin daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to show visitors more about the English colonists’ Christmas at sea in December 1606, and the Powhatan Indian hospitality shown to Captain John Smith’s trading party in 1608 during a winter storm. At the Yorktown Victory Center, hear accounts of Christmas and winter in military encampments during the American Revolution and glimpse holiday preparations on a 1780s farm. Visitors to the Continental Army encampment can learn about winter camp life and hear accounts of Christmas during the war. Click here to learn more about both museums, which offer free admission to residents of the Historic Triangle.

Colonial Williamsburg – Take the Christmas Decorations Walking Tour through the Historic Area. Tickets are $10 with a Colonial Williamsburg admission pass and $15 without. Tours are offered at 9:15 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. daily through Dec. 31. Click here for details.

The resolution starts now with a hike

Get 2012 off to a positive start with the “resolution starts now” hike at York River State Park. The park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk on New Year’s Day, and park rangers will lead hikes at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Park visitors may join the rangers for one of these guided tours, or plot your own adventure. Click here for details and directions.

Live and local music
J.M. Randall’s –
The Three Jolly Coachmen play Thursday night starting at 8. The group is a tribute band to the music of the Kingston Trio. Click here for details, including a map to get you there if you’re unfamiliar with the venue (where you can arrive early for dinner to make a night of it).  On Friday, the Blues Empacts return for a rollicking evening of Delta blues from Memphis and New Orleans with the gospel according to Dirty Red out front. Admission is free before 8 p.m., $5 after and the band starts at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, New Year’s Eve, the Michael Clark Band performs. A special ticket package of $99 per couple, which includes a four-course dinner by Chef Michael Lee and champagne at midnight, is available. Or, guests may purchase a $15 “tavern pass.” Click here for New Year’s Eve details.

DeWitt Wallace Museum –
The Runaway String Band plays a mix of holiday songs and instrumentals from the hills of Appalachia to the sidewalks of New York on Friday, with performances at 1:30 and 4 p.m. A separate ticket priced at $6 is required. Click here for info.

Free films at the WRL

December is Request Month for the Williamsburg Regional Library’s Thursday Afternoon Film Series with movies specifically requested by regular attendees of the series. This week’s film is  “Sweethearts,” the 1938 film featuring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. They play a happily married couple who panic their co-stars by threatening to leave their popular Broadway Operetta for a career in Hollywood. This lightweight musical comedy was directed by W.S. Van Dyke from a script co-written by Dorothy Parker with music by Victor Herbert. Jeanette’s gloriously outré costumes were designed by Adrian. The movies will be shown beginning at 2 p.m. in the Williamsburg Library Theatre, 515 Scotland St. They are free of charge and tickets or reservations are not required. Call the library’s Adult Services Division at (757) 259-4050 for more information or click here.

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