Going out and celebrating New Year’s Eve doesn’t need to cost a fortune, nor do you have to travel far to see fireworks, ice sculptures, fire eating, and all those other cool things a lot of people think only happen in big cities.
How does a family-friendly evening of free live music, street performances, and unique art activities and exhibits right in historic downtown New Bedford sound to you?
If you are looking for some ideas on how to ring in 2014, or if you just haven’t given it much thought yet, consider City Celebrates! New Year’s Eve 2013, organized and presented by AHA! and the City of New Bedford. The celebration, featuring a variety of free activities and events, runs from 4:30 until 8:00 pm, with fireworks over the harbor following at 8:30 pm.
The night kicks off at 4:30 pm with the Opening Ceremony at Custom House Park featuring Mayor Mitchell, city councilors, Miss New Bedford, Miss New Bedford Outstanding Teen, Showstoppers, and the UMass Steel Drum Band.
Following the ceremony is an All Faith Service for the New Year at Seamen’s Bethel at 15 Johnny Cake Hill from 5:00 to 6:00 pm.
Some exciting, must-do activities include Fire & Ice! Fire Eaters at 6:15 pm on the Whaling Museum Plaza and at 7:30 pm in Custom House Park, with live ice sculpting in Custom House Park starting at 4:30 pm.
Fire-eating and juggling street performers, The Suspenders, will put on a show on William Street from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, and there will be two stilt-walking shows at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm at Custom House Park.
The UMASS Dartmouth Kekeli African Music Ensemble will perform on the State Pier (near the Ferry Terminal) from 7:45 to 8:30 pm.
Bring the little ones to see Toe Jam Puppet Band perform at the YMCA at 25 S. Water Street for three shows at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 pm, or head over and warm up inside the National Park Visitor Center located at 33 William Street while working on a variety of hands-on craft activities with the national park’s 1850s Ladies from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.
The kids will love Jedlie’s Magic Circus at the New Bedford Art Museum located at 608 Pleasant Street at 5:45 and 7:00 pm.
Also for kids and families, the New Bedford High School Drama Club presents Circus Shorts from 5:15 to 6:30 pm at the New Bedford Public Library located at 613 Pleasant Street, and the Ocean Explorium located at 174 Union Street will feature hands-on activities, Blue Earth Projection, and live exhibits from 4:00 until 7:00 pm.
Looking to experience some art? Then head straight for the We Art NB! galleries where you can look around and shop at Crowell’s Fine Art at 328 Acushnet Avenue, Gallery 65 on William at 65 William Street, the Paradise-McFee Gallery at 106 Williams Street, and TL6 the Gallery at 100 William Street.
From 5:30 until 8:00 pm, watch artists as they utilize all sorts of art mediums in a live competition for the best artwork award during the Plus Art! Battle at Artworks located at 384 Acushnet Avenue. A number of venues, cafes, and bars will feature live music by local musicians of all kinds of musical genres. Café Arpeggio at 800 Purchase Street will host a folk coffee house from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, while Tia Maria’s located at 42 N. Water Street will feature Fado with Ana Vinagre at 5:30 and 6:30 pm.
There will be Celtic music with Eddie Dillon and Aoife Clancy at the Seamen’s Bethel from 6:30 – 8:00 pm, and Cape Verdean Kitchen Music at Celia’s Boutique from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
Sponsored by the New Bedford Historical Society, Ponta de Sol will perform at Artworks from 6:00 until 8:00 pm.
Go see Showstoppers at the Penler Space (adjacent to the Zeiterion Theater) from 5:30 to 6:45 pm, or head over to 767 Exchange located at 767 Purchase Street from 6:00 to 8:00 pm to hear the O’ Tooles.
There will be Latin Guitar at Crowell’s Fine Art, time TBA, and if you are looking to dance in the new year, walk over to Wing’s Court for a dance party from 6:00 to 8:00 pm where DJ Anghelli will playing some loud tunes from ‘then and now’ to get you grooving.
If jazz is what you’re into, you will find plenty of it! Gallery 65 is hosting Paul Nagel and Bill Meile from 5:00 to 6:30 pm, and Jim Robataille, John Harrison, Dino Govoni, Dave Zinno, and Chris Poudrier will perform at the New Bedford Whaling Museum at 18 Johnny Cake Hill, 5:00 to 6:30 pm.
Gatlin’s Framing & Photography at 209 Union Street will present Al Nawoki & the UMass Jazz Quartet from 5:00 till 8:00 pm, while Scott Alan Correira & friends play jazz piano and musical revue at UMASS College of Performing & Visual Arts located at 715 Purchase Street, 5:00 and 6:00 pm.
Some venues will remain open after 9:00 pm with food, drink, and live music. Stop by Rose Alley Ale House at 94 Front Street where DJ Tom Cooney will be playing music from 9:00 pm – 1:00 am, with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
Cork at 90 Front Street will have live music with Chris Richards & Mike Lavoie from 8:30 pm till 12:30 am plus a five-course sharing menu and champagne toast starting at 4:00 pm (reservations required), and the Pour Farm Tavern at 780 Purchase Street will have a live band as yet to be determined.
So consider bundling-up, heading out on the town, and taking advantage of all the free activities that historical downtown New Bedford is offering this year to make New Year’s Eve a unique evening that you will actually remember in the morning!
By Jean Perry