Hot spots for the arrival of '99 New Year's Eve: The Inner Harbor, First Night Annapolis and a variety of other venues will ring out the old, ring in the new.

UP FRONT

December 31, 1998|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,SUN STAFF

So you want to party like it's 1999? There will be plenty of opportunities in and around the Baltimore area tonight.

Here is a roundup of some happenings.

First Night Annapolis is celebrating with its ninth year of turning the city into a mega party zone with activities for children and adults. For the younger set, there will be afternoon activities, including Professor Horne's Punch and Judy puppet show. Jack Julius will present a magic act, and there will be storytelling by Tom McCabe and Maria Broom.

And for both older and younger folks as evening activities commence, the highlights among dozens of acts include jazz vocalist Jeanie Bryson. She is the daughter of the late trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie, one of the founders of modern jazz.

Folk singer Tom Paxton will be on hand, as will be the Richmond Shakespeare Theater, which will perform "Much Ado About Nothing." A cappella vocal group Regency will sing five-part harmonies and Motown selections at the Annapolis City Dock.

"New Vaudeville" troupe La-zer Vaudeville will perform a

combination of acrobatics, juggling, comedy and theater against backdrop of lasers and black lights.

Festivalgoers can walk aboard the Harbour Queen at City Dock for a slice of birthday cake and to wish happy birthday to Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, which is celebrating its 350th anniversary.

Close to midnight, the Chesapeake Caledonian Pipe Band will march down Main Street to the City Dock. Naturally, there will be singing of "Auld Lang Syne" and fireworks over the harbor.

First Night Annapolis tickets, which are really buttons, can be bought at Giant Food stores, Starbucks and other area stores.

On New Year's Eve, starting at 2 p.m., admission buttons can be bought at the admission trailer at the Navy Stadium lot; the visitors center kiosk at City Dock; and the Church Circle Post Office. The cost is $14. The buttons allow entrance to all events.

Parking is available at Navy Memorial Stadium for $3, and there is a free shuttle bus to sites.

Children ages 4 and under are admitted free when they can sit on a parent's lap. Children ages 6 and under are admitted free for afternoon performances between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. when accompanied by an adult who has purchased a button.

Most of the performances are indoors, but dress warmly for walking from place to place.

In Baltimore, the Convention Center will be the hub of New Year's Eve activity once again this year. The nonalcoholic party will begin at 8 p.m.

There will be a children's area called "Kids' Place" with music and the magicians Speed & Thro Illusionists. The children will have an opportunity to learn drumming by the group Percussion Discussion. The younger children will also be able to play with balls, hoops and ring-tosses. To help keep the older teens and preteens occupied, there will be video games.

For everyone, there will be live bands in various rooms at the Convention Center. They include the swing band Axis, the rhythm and blues band State of Affairz, country band Stampede and Grupo Latino Continental, which performs modern and traditional Latin songs.

For young and old who want to provide their own entertainment, there is a Karaoke Theater at the Convention Center.

At midnight, the celebration moves outside to the Inner Harbor for fireworks choreographed to music. To hear the music, stand near the Harborplace Amphitheatre, along the harbor's west promenade, or the Inner Harbor Ice Rink on Rash Field.

The Turnstyles will play swing music in a free performance from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Amphitheatre. And the Ice Rink will be the site of a skating party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., "Slice on Ice," including a skating exhibition by the Chesapeake Skating School. The cost for the skating party is $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 12 and under. Today, the ice rink is also open from noon to 8 p.m. The cost is $5 per two-hour session, and skate rental is $2.

In Harford County, teens and preteens ages 11 to 17 are encouraged to go to the Bel Air Athletic Club, 658 Boulton St. in Bel Air, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. for sports activities, games, food, nonalcoholic drinks, music and more. All the profits after cost will be donated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The cost is $20. For more information, call 410-569-4988.

In the nation's capital, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is celebrating the new year with musical performances, including a free one at 6 p.m.

The National Symphony Orchestra performs at 9 p.m. Tickets for the National Symphony Orchestra's New Year's Eve concert are $20-$60. There will also be dancing in the Grand Foyer, which begins at 11 p.m. Call 202-467-4600.

Montgomery County is holding its own First Night in downtown Silver Spring. Various musical acts from the National Chamber Orchestra to blues and jazz bands will be there. Fireworks displays will last from 6 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $10, with children under 6 admitted free.

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