The New Year’s Eve 2013 ‘City Celebrates!’ in New Bedford last year was a fantastic event for kids, art appreciators, and music lovers alike, with dozens of music performances, art exhibitions, street performers, and family-oriented activities that lasted well into the night, topped off by a magnificent fireworks display over the harbor. This year, the 2014 City Celebrates! will be just as exciting – and hopefully, a little less chilly than last year. (And it’s all free!)
The historic downtown New Bedford streets, sidewalks, and parks bustle with New Year’s Eve revelers during the event, which is so well-organized that all you need is the official map of the event, widely available at any of the venues with scheduled activities and also passed out on the street by organizers of the event.
If you want to plan ahead, we have the schedule of events right here for you, classified by genre, so you can get an idea of what is happening and where to head for it.
One of the earlier events is the annual inter-faith service in New Bedford’s historic Seamen’s Bethel at 15 Johnny Cake Hill from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, followed by an evening of live music until 8:00 pm.
For the kids, the best Toe Jam Puppet Band will be offering performances at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 pm at the YMCA, located at 25 South Water Street. (Parents love them too, by the way).
The YMCA will also host the Buttonwood Park Zoo with its fun Winter Animal Activities exhibit.
The 1850s Ladies will be hosting an evening of crafts and games inside the Whaling National Historical Park Visitor Center at 33 William Street. Ruth and Abby will be dressed in period costumes, showing kids how to make their own noisemakers, among other things. Drop in anytime between 5:00 and 7:00 pm.
Keeping with the kiddies, Jedlie’s Magic Circus will offer their Family Magic Workshop at the Art Museum/Artworks! located at 608 Pleasant Street. During Jedlie’s performances, the children are the stars of the show, so have your cameras ready for this one. (And be sure to arrive early to the performances as seats fill up fast). There will be two shows at 5:30 and 6:30 pm. And a little FYI, there are also bathrooms onsite and open to the public.
Head to the State Pier from 7:00 to 8:30 pm to watch the Brett Sylvia Puppetry show. Sylvia is a master puppeteer and fine artist. His puppets are unlike any puppets you have ever seen and will activate your child’s (and your) imagination.
Make sure you catch Bill Harley, children’s entertainer and storyteller, at the New Bedford Whaling Museum at 18 Johnny Cake Hill. Harley is a two-time Grammy Award winner and a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. Also an NPR commentator, Entertainment Weekly once called Harley “the Mark Twain of contemporary children’s music!” He will be enchanting audiences from 5:30 to 6:30 pm.
You will also find other exciting entertainment and street performers outside the museum in the Whaling Museum Plaza.
For the art enthusiasts, you will find the New Year’s wish art project with Dream out Loud at Custom House Square. The Dream out Loud Center for the Arts’ mission “is to advance the personal and career goals of South Coast residents through innovation, education and mentoring.” It does this through its Creative Careers Program. Custom House Square is located at North Second Street at William Street, and this exhibit will go on from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.
Also at Custom House Square, Jessica Bregoli’s original art installation “Snowflake” will be on display.
The Photo Project “I am NB” by Nbbeautiful with U.G.L.Y. Gallery and Parks & Recreation will go on from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at Wings Court, located in the heart of downtown, surrounded by Union, Purchase, and William Streets.
There are some music events scheduled as well, starting with DJ Anghelli jamming out in Wings Court from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.
You can enjoy live jazz music at the Star Store UMASS Dartmouth at 715 Purchase Street, at the corner of Union Street. A number of performers will be playing live from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
The West African Drum Ensemble “Kekeli” will play at the State Pier Ferry Terminal from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. The UMASS Dartmouth group’s aim is to spread African music, dance, and culture throughout the campus and the South Coast region.
Folk musicians and folkies in general can head to Café Arpeggio for Open Mic Night. Give a performance, or come enjoy the live music from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Café Arpeggio is located at 800 Purchase Street.
Fire breathers, jugglers, and stilt-walkers will be out captivating passersby at various corners around the downtown area, among other amazing street performers.
Stay for the fireworks beginning at 8:30 pm on the waterfront by State Pier or watch them from any point surrounding the New Bedford Harbor!
So bundle up and venture out into the chilly air of the last night of 2014 and make this New Year’s Eve a special one for you and your family.
We at The Wanderer wish all of our readers a Healthy and Happy New Year 2015!
By Jean Perry