- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 29, 2004

First Night

The Washington area offers plenty of options for the final hours of 2004. If alcohol-free, family activities are your New Year’s cup of tea, check out these First Night activities:

• Old Town Alexandria hosts its 10th annual First Night Alexandria celebration. Top-notch music performers, activities for every member of the family and the much anticipated midnight fireworks at the George Washington Masonic Temple are just some of the planned events. Activities begin at 6 p.m. While certain activities are free, most require a First Night badge which costs adults $15. Children under 12 enter free. 703/838-4200 or www.firstnightalexandria.org.

• From one historic town to the next, First Night Annapolis has activities ranging from dance and theater to music and comedy. Events begin at 6 p.m. and take place in more than 40 eclectic venues throughout the historic city with the fireworks finale being held at the city dock. Admission badges are $15 for adults if purchased by today, but go up to $20 for tomorrow’s events. Badges for children aged 6 to 12 are $10 and children under 6 are admitted free. 410/268-8553 or www.firstnightannapolis.org.

• First Night Warrenton, canceled last year, is back in the swing. The town has joined with the Bluemont Concert Series, and this year’s celebration will feature more than 50 performances throughout 10 indoor locations throughout Warrenton. The fun begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and children under 12 and free for children under 2. 703/777-6306 or www.bluemont.org/firstnight-Warrenton_04.

• The Eastern Shore of Maryland rings in the New Year with First Night Talbot. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. and include music from the Zydecats and The Swingin’ Swamis along with a painting demonstration from artist Joe Mayer. There won’t be any fireworks, but families can count down to midnight at the Avalon Theatre, where they can watch the Times Square ball drop. First Night buttons are $8 to $10 for adults and $4 to $5 for students. Children under 5 are free. 410/820-8822 or www.easternshore.com/firstnighttalbot.

• First Night Winchester in the Old Town historic district offers a nice balance of events for children and adults beginning at 6 p.m. The 18th annual event has six hours of live entertainment that includes music, dance and comedic performances. Admission is $7 in advance or $9 at the door. Children under 6 are free. 540/974-5720 or www.firstnightwinchester.org

• First Night Leesburg plans more than 100 performances at 20 indoor locations downtown. The night begins at 6 p.m., and the grand illumination takes place at the courthouse at midnight. Admission is $8 for adults, $3 for children under 12. It’s free for children under 3. 703/777-6306 or www.bluemont.org/firstnight-Leesburg_04.

• First Night Baltimore is a free New Year’s party for an estimated 100,000 people in the Inner Harbor. Baltimore’s “New Year’s Eve Spectacular” features everything from music and ice skating to dancing and dining. The night kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and the fireworks fill the sky at midnight. 877/225-8466 or www.bop.org.

First Night alternatives

In the District, hotels, bars, clubs and the Kennedy Center all have special events lined up for the final evening of ‘04. Here are some of the highlights:

• The Kennedy Center rings in the new year with “Sinatra, Big Band and Beyond,” a night of classic hits followed by dancing in the Grand Foyer. Tickets for evening are $50 to $90. F Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW. 202/467-4600

m The Fairmont Washington Hotel hosts “A Celebration of Many Nations,” a New Year’s event put on by Professionals in the City, formerly the D.C. Society of Young Professionals. The evening features eight internationally themed party areas with food, music and drink. Tickets are $144. 2401 M St., NW. 301/519-8030.

• If you are looking to ring in the New Year with a laugh, Jackie Flynn is headlining a night of comedy with two shows at the D.C. Improv. The 8 p.m. show is $35 and the show at 10:15 p.m. is $75. 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202/296-7008.

The day after

After the parties, fireworks and champagne or cider, break in the first day of 2005 with a great night of music.

• Particle, with a fan base from San Francisco to Boston, brings its eclectic blend of electronic, funk and rock ‘n’ roll to the 9:30 Club on New Year’s Day, Saturday. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. 815 V St. NW. 202/393-0930.

• Robin & Linda Williams & Their Fine Group, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Ricky Simpkins, Bill Kirchen and others arrive at the Birchmere to celebrate the Hank Williams the man and the legend and play a night of classic Williams tunes. The show kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $30. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 703/573-SEAT.

Thomas Walter

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