Ring in '06 with a hike, fireworks or a bit of Bach

December 31, 2005|By SAM SESSA, SARAH YURGEALITIS, TIM SMITH

It's New Year's Eve, but there's more going on than just champagne toasts. Here are a dozen possibilities for greeting the new year today and tomorrow, from family fun to serious adult partying, from hikes to high art.

Wander happily

Join members of the Freestate Happy Wanderers Volksmarch Club at the Owen Brown Community Center in Columbia between 9 a.m. and noon today and tomorrow for a pair of friendly, noncompetitive walks through the winter weather (walkers must finish by 4 p.m.). Free. 6800 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. 410-437-2164.

Just for kids

Port Discovery's annual Noontime New Year, a celebration for families with young children, kicks off today, highlighted by a noontime milk-and-cookies toast with Maryland Public Television's Bob the Vid-Tech and a musical performance by Charm City Revival. Festivities continue tomorrow with an international-themed celebration featuring activities and workshops involving dance, mask-making, drumming and more. Admission today to the Noontime New Year is free; museum admission is an additional cost. Admission tomorrow to the international celebration is $6 and includes museum admission. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today; noon to 5 p.m. tomorrow. 35 Market Place, Baltimore. 410-727-8120 or portdiscovery.org

Drop that duck

The historic town of Havre de Grace will welcome the new year with a "duck drop" and fireworks at midnight tonight at Havre de Grace Middle School. The fireworks will follow the dropping of an illuminated duck decoy by the Susquehanna Hose Company's ladder truck. Free. Off U.S. 40 at Lewis Lane. 410-939-2100 or hdgtourism.com

A `Big' party

Held on the entire club level of M&T Bank Stadium tonight, "Big Night Baltimore" features 13 themed party areas, 11 bands (including Jimmie's Chicken Shack, SR-71 and the Kelly Bell Band), four dance floors, a full open bar, hors d'oeuvres and Ravens cheerleaders. $109.99 for regular entry; $169.99 for VIP (prices could be higher depending on sales). Stadium lot parking is $10. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. 1101 Russell St. 703-251-4800 or bignightbaltimore.com.

Hit the harbor

Baltimore's annual New Year's Eve Spectacular starts at the Inner Harbor at 9 tonight with live music by acoustic duo 3 Hour Drive, followed by Gary and the Groove at 10 p.m. Fireworks begin at midnight and are choreographed to a live simulcast by MIX 106.5 FM. Free. 877- BALTIMORE or bop.org.

A capital idea

First Night Annapolis begins with children's activities from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. today in Maryland Hall. At 5:30 p.m., a procession starts at Maryland Hall and continues down West Street to Church Circle. Downtown, about 40 venues will host musical performers and historical re-enactors. Fireworks start at midnight. Parking at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium is $10 per car; free shuttles run to downtown. 410-268-8553 or firstnightannapo lis.org.

Get decked out

Aboard the historic Constellation in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, a deck party begins today at 10 p.m. and ends at 1 a.m. Food and drinks will be served all night. Visitors can watch midnight fireworks from their floating vantage point. $60 for members; $75 for nonmembers. Pratt and Light streets. 410-539-1797, ext. 422 or constellation.org.

A scientific shindig

Celebrate the new year at the Maryland Science Center's Night 365. The alcohol-free event starts tonight at 7 and runs until 11:45, just before the big Inner Harbor fireworks display. Adults and kids alike can tour the science center's permanent exhibits and attend planetarium shows and IMAX screenings of Santa vs. the Snowman. $30 for members; $35 for nonmembers. 601 Light St. 410-545-5898 or marylandscience center.org.

Top off the year

See the Inner Harbor fireworks display from the 27th floor of the World Trade Center. Doors open at 9:30 tonight and the fun goes until 12:30 a.m. There will be karaoke, children's games, refreshments, party favors and a cash bar. $25 for adults; $20 for children. 401 E. Pratt St. 410-837-VIEW or viewbaltimore.org.

Go birding

The Anne Arundel Bird Club holds its annual Annapolis/Gibson Island Christmas Bird Count tomorrow. Birders can count wherever and for however long they wish. There is a $5 participation fee. The tally will be held at Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, Indian Landing Road, Millersville. Register in advance by calling 410-647-7439 or 410-647-9513.

Bach beckons

The Bach Concert Series at Baltimore's First English Lutheran Church offers a free New Year's Day performance at 3 p.m. of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata No. 186 Argre dich, o Seele, nicht (Trouble not thyself, O my Soul), with chorus, soloists and orchestra conducted by T. Herbert Dimmock. Tomorrow's program will also include Lux Aeterna by the late American composer Edwin Fissinger, performed in memory of the late Lorenzo Handy, a popular minister and arts writer of the Baltimore Times. 3807 N. Charles St. 410-235-2356 or firstenglishchurch.org.

Stride into 2006

Shed some of those holiday pounds in the inaugural Baltimore New Year's Day Run/Walk at Patterson Park at 2 p.m. Choose a 5K run or a one-mile walk. Proceeds will benefit Earl's Place, a transitional housing program. $30. Register on race day starting at 12:30 p.m. or call 410-522-0225. Online: charmcityrun.com.

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