- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2002

Swinging at the KenCen
Note to college students, government employees and poor journalists looking for a low-cost way to ring in the new year: The Kennedy Center's Grand Foyer Party, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. New Year's Eve, features the Radio King Orchestra swinging big-band style and the Salon Orchestra of Washington in traditional Viennese waltzes all for a $20 cover charge, which includes party favors and a commemorative gift. What's more, diners at the Roof Terrace Restaurant and those attending any of the other Kennedy Center events that evening need only present their tickets or dinner stubs to be admitted to the dance party for free. For restaurant reservations, call 202/416-8555. Otherwise, just show up. F Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW. 202/467-4600.
A midwinter eve's dream
Rarely does an opportunity for enjoyment and a tax write-off present itself in such an obliging manner. The Washington Shakespeare Company's New Year's Eve fund-raiser includes a performance of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Doors open at 7:45 p.m. Relax to live piano for an hour before the curtain rises at 8:45 p.m. Afterward, ring in the new year with a DJ and dancing. The price is $50 per person, but includes a buffet and an open bar and $25 is tax-deductible. The celebration is at the Clark Street Playhouse, 601 S. Clark St., Crystal City. 703/418-9704.
First night fun
Looking for an alcohol-free New Year's Eve? Think about the increasingly popular First Night block parties. First Night Leesburg offers more than 100 performances of everything from jazz to folk to rock to classical at 20 different indoor locations downtown. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. and the party goes until midnight earlier performances are geared more toward the young ones. Admission is $3 per child and $8 per adult. Call the Loudoun Visitors Center, 703/771-2170. Or try First Night Alexandria: With about 225 performers in 21 different venues, the party extends from the Masonic temple right outside Old Town to Fairfax Street.Children's activities begin at 5 p.m. and the rest of the party starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until the fireworks at midnight. Children 12 and under are admitted free; adult tickets are $15. Call 703/838-4200, ext. 3.
The joint is jumpin'
Waltz the night away at the Hollywood Ballroom, where a DJ will play a combination of swing, salsa and classical tunes. A very thorough buffet-style dinner will be available. And this party doesn't stop: Doors open at 9 p.m., but the festivities last until 2 a.m. Tickets are $70-$90, and they include a champagne toast at midnight. 2126 Industrial Parkway, Silver Spring. 301/622-5494.
Dancing in the new year
The Folklore Society of Greater Washington's New Year's Eve ball offers country dances, waltzes, and a grand opportunity to pirouette into 2003. Finger foods will be available and The Evil Twins will provide the tunes. The fun begins at 8 p.m. and lasts until 12:15 a.m. at Leland Community Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Bethesda. Tickets are $19 to $24 and reservations are required. 301/270-4553.
Christmas bonus?
If 2002 didn't do too much fiscal damage to your retirement plan, a plethora of events are scheduled at some of Washington's top hotels. The Jefferson Hotel (1200 16th St. NW, 202/347-2200), has an evening of dinner and dancing lined up for $135 per person, champagne toast included. Seating is at 6:30 p.m. for dinner; a live jazz band will play from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. At the Willard Inter-Continental (1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202/628-9100), the "New Year's Eve 2003 Gala" begins at 8 p.m. with a seven-course dinner and live music and dancing throughout the night. The $295 per person price tag includes parking, taxes and gratuities, but beverages are additional. The Four Seasons (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202/342-0444) is already sold out for the evening, but tickets remain for their morning-after brunch on New Year's Day from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for $29 to $58 per person.
Stephanie K. Taylor

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