You don't have to stay at home New Year's Eve sitting on the couch, watching TV and stuffing yourself with onion dip. There's plenty to do around town, whether you're looking for an elegant ball, someplace fun to take the family or a chance to party until dawn.
Everyone in Baltimore is invited to the Inner Harbor to ring in the new year. There will be parties and events around the harbor, followed by a fantastic fireworks display outside Harborplace at midnight.
At the Baltimore Convention Center, there are actually seven parties going on under one roof. The event is alcohol-free, so it's a good place for families.
From 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. you can wander through the convention center listening to music by country singer Maria Rose, rhythm and blues band Bobby & the Braggers, the a capella group Regency or DJ Dan The Man Gladding. If you want to make your own music, there's the karaoke room, where anyone giddy on fruit punch can stand up and sing show tunes. There will also be a fortune-telling room for those who want to know what 1995 will bring, and there's also a children's area. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for ages 12 and under.
Also at the harbor, country line dancers Jim and Mindy Ratliff will try to get people to dance the boot-scoot at the Harborplace Amphitheatre, and an assortment of jugglers, magicians, a stilt walker and other entertainers will be strolling the Harborplace promenade. All of these events are free.
If you want a truly unusual way to welcome 1995, and have a great view of the fireworks, the Inner Harbor Ice Rink will be open from 10 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Admission is $3.75; skate rental is $1.75. For information about all these events call (410) 837-4636.
Another big event to help celebrate the new year is the annual "First Night" in Annapolis. Now in its fifth year, First Night is another alcohol-free party for all all ages. From 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. there will be 260 performances of music, theater and dance at almost 50 venues in the downtown Annapolis area.
Look for performances in some unlikely places -- in churches, schools, office buildings and even store windows. At midnight, you can watch the fireworks over the Annapolis city dock. Tickets to First Night are $13 and can be purchased at most Giant Food stores and branches of First National Bank of Maryland. For more information, call (410) 787-2717.
With so many bars, nightclubs and restaurants having events for New Year's, it's impossible to include them all. Here are some of the New Year's Eve parties in the area.
* At Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St., the musical political satire group The Capitol Steps will perform in The Pearlstone Theater for two shows, at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 and $25. Call (410) 332-0033.
* Hear love songs, ballads and the do-wop sounds of the '50s and '60s at the New Year's Eve Oldies show at the Tower Showcase Theater, 6307 Reisterstown Road. Performing from 10 to 2 a.m. will be local musicians Oliver Moore, Ed Heath and others. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Call (410) 358-1131.
* It's an evening in Monte Carlo at the Stouffer Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, 202 E. Pratt St. Dinner, dancing and a casino are among the highlights at this affair, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $250 a couple. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Baltimore Reads program for illiteracy. Call (410) 547-1200.
* Party New Orleans-style at the Holiday Inn in Timonium. Sample Cajun cuisine and come dressed for the Mardi Gras. The Peabody Ragtime ensemble will be performing from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tickets are $125 a couple. Call (410) 252-7373.
* The Dells, along with Bobby "Blue" Bland, Clarence Carter, Ray, Goodman & Brown and the Fabulous Friends, will perform at the Fifth Regiment Armory, Howard and Preston streets. Also on hand will be the Morgan State University modeling troupe Absolutely Chic. Tickets are $45. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the NAACP. Show time is at 9 p.m. For tickets, call (410) 481-SEAT. For table reservations, call (410) 728-8970.
* The Christian coffeehouse Greenwich Avenue, at St. John's United Methodist Church at Wilkens Avenue and Rolling Road, will celebrate the New Year with a night of music and performances by Bridge the Gap, Steve Price, Bernie & DeSales Hernandez and Victoria Francese. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m. Call (410) 566-3581.
* The Fourth Annual Crystal Ball to benefit the South Baltimore Homeless Shelter will take place from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, 1415 Key Highway. Performing will be Swing Central, the Delta Devils Blues Band and Tony Berry & New Money. The museum also offers a great view of the fireworks at the Inner Harbor. Tickets are $50. Call (410) 752-5917.
* Singer Frankie Beverly and Maze will rock in the new year at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro starting at 10 p.m. Tickets are $45. Call (410) 481-SEAT.