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Patch Picks: Celebrate New Year's, South Sound Style

Happy New Year, Patch readers! The South Sound rings in the new year in all kinds of styles. Whether it's grand, family friendly or unusual, there's a place to celebrate for everyone.

Growing up in the north end of Tacoma, New Year's Eve was anything but quiet.

Fireworks, singing, yelling, musical instruments, and cars honking their horns sounded at midnight. Revellers made their way up North 30th Street hill and spilled over into our neighborhood in the wee hours.

Our thoughts?

Let's join 'em! 

As kids, we'd craft instruments (usually drums, horns, and bells) out of household materials and play an impromptu concert.

The louder, the better.

This typically went on for a good while. No one seemed to care.

It was a new year after all.

Now over the years, my new year's celebrations have changed significantly. The family band has since retired and I've been in a new 'hood for some time.

However, the fun continues. There are lots of events going on around the South Sound. Here's a glimpse at some of them.

First Night (Tacoma)

Why here: You are going to see lots of advertising about Tacoma's New Year's celebration, First Night. Patch is no exception. Why? This is one big event folks, now in it's 18th year. This is non-alcoholic, family friendly event, showcases the arts, entertainment, food, history, and fun of downtown Tacoma. By purchasing a special button that you wear to the event for a low price ($10 for people over 10 years old before Dec. 31 and $14 on Dec. 31, kids under 10 are always free) you gain access to four different museums and a variety of other events that run until...you guessed it! Midnight! Please click on the link above to get a run down of all the events, where to purchase your special admission buttons, driving directions, and parking.

Lake Tapps Polar Bear Plunge (Driftwood Point Park, Lake Tapps)

Why here: How about kicking off the new year with a refreshing jump in the lake? For the brave at heart (emphasis on BRAVE), you can take the Polar Bear Plunge with other revellers at the 6th Annual Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 1, rain, shine, or FREEZING cold. This free event is also a food drive, so bring a canned item for the food bank. Join in or cheer 'em on! Don't worry. There will be a warm bonfire and snacks post-jump. Costumes encouraged.

When: Sunday, 11:30 a.m., open to all, FREE

Noon New Year's Eve Party at Discovery Village (Gig Harbor)

Why here: For parents of small children, staying out late or going to larger events may not be an option. That's why the daytime New Year's Eve party at , a hand's on children museum, will fit the bill nicely. There will be dancing, games, and other special events to keep your little ones entertained. This facility also includes an indoor playground, cafe, and toy store. Please see the link above to get more details.

When: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., $3 for kid members, $12 for kid  non-members (all accompanying adults are free)

16th Annual Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park (Spanaway)

Why here: Not quite ready to say a fond farewell to the holidays just yet? Looking to be dazzled by colorful and sparkling light displays? You are not too late! This annual wonderland of light continues through Jan. 1 in the evenings. Because this is a drive through event, you can stay warm and toasty, too. Please see the link above for driving directions, costs, and other details.

When: Nightly through Jan. 1, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., $13 per vehicle

Museum of Glass Cone head Workshop (Tacoma)  

Why here: What is one of the most important New Year's decorations of all? Why the New Year's party hat, that's what! The holiday is not complete without a festive hat. So why not join the folks down at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma for musical entertainment and lots of great materials to craft your own cone head party hat. Not only can you enjoy this great museum and all it has to offer, but you will be ready for your evening festivities with your new hat! Check out the link above.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., free with price of admission

Have a fun and safe holiday celebration!

PC Boy December 31, 2011 at 04:19 PM
I tried to watch the video, but it's marked as private...
Lauren Padgett December 31, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Weird! They must have flipped it after we published. I tried to find another good video but had bad luck finding one of decent quality, so I just removed it. Thanks for letting me know!

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