Ringing in the New Year: 9 Spots to Celebrate

By Mary Beth Schwartz

Before New Year’s Eve, we dash around to find the perfect plans in the Lehigh Valley to bring in the coming year. Singles enjoy nightclubs, brew pubs or the casinos. Families can choose from such locations as The Crayola Experience or the Da Vinci Science Center. Whatever their fancy, Lehigh Valley residents can bring in 2013 just right. Here is a list of nine spots to consider this December 31.

1. Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem will have a New Year’s Eve Celebration featuring Sensational Soul Cruisers from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The act will be followed by D.J. Aaron B in Molten, the casino’s lounge.

2. The Crayola Experience in Easton offers its New Year’s Eve Celebration. The event will be completely indoors this year. Taking place from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., the event features a character New Year’s parade, countdown with streamers, two moonbounce rides, a dance party, special projects and a free Glow gift ($10 value). With $15 admission, adults and children have access to all experiences.

3. Allentown’s Da Vinci Science Center offers its Bodies Revealed Exhibition on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The world-renowned exhibition, which has been seen by more than 15 million people of all ages, provides visitors a mesmerizing three-dimensional tour of the human body that otherwise is available only to medical professional and students. Bodies Revealed is presented by St. Luke’s University Health Network as part of their Year of the Human Body project. Ticket pricing for Bodies Revealed is $21.95 for visitors $18.95 for Science Center members, or $17.50 for a group of 10 or more. The exhibition runs through February 10, 2013.

4. The Historic Hotel Bethlehem will be hosting a New Year’s Eve Celebration on December 31. An a la carte and prix fixe menu will be available in both the Tap Room and 1741 on the Terrace. Dinner will begin at 4 p.m. and those wishing to keep their table throughout the celebration should make a reservation for 9 p.m. or later. Uke Jackson and the Ginseng Roots will get the celebration started. A champagne toast and balloon drop will ring in the New Year.

5. Allentown’s New Year’s Eve Finale will be similar to the 250th Anniversary kick-off event. This celebration will feature both a gala and outdoor public event. It will officially conclude the anniversary year, while it carries the energy, excitement and enthusiasm into the future. Residents of all ages are invited to participate in an array of New Year’s Eve festivities planned for downtown Allentown, including a cocktail party, carriage rides, fire dancers, ice carvers, and an outdoor celebration complete with a countdown-to-midnight drop of a Liberty Bell replica.

6. The Meadows in Hellertown will host its early bird family-friendly New Year’s Eve event from 5 to 8 p.m. Guests will be served salad and shrimp cocktail table side, and there will be a gourmet buffet and Venetian dessert table, complete with coffee and tea. Alcoholic beverages will be offered for purchase. Admission is $19.95 for children and $24.95 for adults. Or, attend the New Year’s Eve Gala from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Cocktail hour is from 7 to 8 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner at 8 p.m., then dessert. A full open bar is offered from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. A full breakfast will be served at 12:30 a.m. Admission is $80 per guest. There will be live entertainment from the band Paragon and a DJ, as well as noise makers, party favors and a balloon drop. Reservations are required.

7. The ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks once again has PEEPS Fest™. Held 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 30, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on December 31, this dynamic, interactive family event highlights the beloved marshmallow confection PEEPS. The two-day celebration, presented by Just Born, Inc. and ArtsQuest, includes live music, art and PEEPS-related programming. The festival culminates December 31 at 5:15 p.m. with the dropping of the 85-pound, 4.5-foot-high lighted PEEPS chick and fireworks to welcome in the New Year.

8. Allentown Brew Works will celebrate in style. With an $85 advanced reservation, party-goers will enjoy an open bar from 9 p.m. to midnight and a cash bar until 2 a.m. You can venture outside and enjoy the festivities on Hamilton Street or check out the fireworks from the fifth floor windows. Music will be provided by Lehigh Valley R&B band Lucky 7. An extensive New Year’s menu will be provided with fare by Chef Michael Honeywell.

9. A cozy night at home might be the perfect plan for you. Stay up until midnight, watch the ball drop in Times Square and have a happy 2013!

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