The old year ends Monday with a fresh 2018 ahead and whether your reaction is to kick the past year out with a good riddance or an open-armed welcome to a new year continuing more of the same, there are plenty of places to celebrate.
In contrast to past years when public celebrations seemed minimal, this year’s New Year’s offers multiple ways to mark the calendar turning from parties with the traditional food, drink and dancing to vintage jazz, exotic themes and even theatrical murder.
Here’s a sampling of New Year’s Eve events, several in downtown Waco.
New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery, Dinner and Dance, 6:30-12:30 p.m., Hilton Waco, 113 S. University Parks Drive; $125.
Someone at Sunday’s New Year’s Eve party at the Waco Hilton doesn’t make it out of 2017 alive — theatrically speaking, of course — and it’s the job of the remaining revelers at the Brazos Theatre’s New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery and Dance to find out why.
The mystery’s presented by 10 players from Brazos Theatre, said theater director Beth Richards, with the storyline from the murder mystery “Murder Plays a Sour Note.”
“It takes place within a 1955 supper club and there’s a Guy Lombardo atmosphere to it,” she said, referring to the Big Band leader whose orchestra became known for playing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve on the radio. “We hope to make this a New Year’s tradition.”
There’s also a three-course dinner by Hilton executive chef Nathaniel Gay, prizes for Best Sleuth, Best Dressed and Best Dancer, and dance music from the Texas Heatwave Band. The Hilton is offering a discounted room rate for those who’d rather spend the night than drive home after the party.
Sparkle & Shine New Year’s Eve, 7 p.m.-1 a.m., Cultivate 7twelve, 712 Austin Ave.; $35 individual, $60 couple, $100 family.
Those looking for a place to mark the new year with family and friends without staying up so late might consider downtown arts space Cultivate 7twelve’s Sparkle & Shine New Year’s Eve. One of the options is an “11 o’clock East Coast Ball Drop” — a celebration of the new year an hour earlier than midnight in Texas (well, except for Hudspeth and El Paso counties).
Jeremy Hagman, who owns and operates Cultivate 7twelve with his wife Rebekah, said the earlier time is meant to accommodate parents with kids as well as those ready to call it a new year early, but the party doesn’t stop there.
“We’re hoping to have a lot of families. The second ball drop is for the rest of our over-21 crowd,” he said. There’s heavy hors d’oeuvres for all, plus mocktails from Luna Juice Bar and champagne from Barnett’s Public House. The Hagmans are also steering interest to a rooftop wine tasting by Waco Winery next door at the winery’s tasting room, 708 Austin Ave., for an additional $10.
Sunshine Recovery Houses will provide rides home for Sparkle & Shine New Year’s Eve partygoers and part of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the organization.
New Year’s Eve Barkin’ Ball, 7 p.m., Waco Convention Center, 100 Washington Ave.; $200.
The Barkin’ Ball, the largest New Year’s Eve party in town, continues to welcome the new year as it has for more than a decade as a fundraiser for non-lethal animal welfare organization Fuzzy Friends Rescue.
This year’s edition is themed “Black & White Masquerade” with food and drink catered by Eddie Deen & Company and music provided by the Fort Worth-based Taylor Pace Orchestra. Hilton Waco also is offering a discounted room rate for the night.
Shanghai Nights, 9:30 p.m. Hotel Indigo, 211 Clay Ave.; $125.
Hotel Indigo will transform its bar and lower level into a lantern-lit Asian atmosphere for its New Year’s Eve celebration, Shanghai Nights. Sales manager Cassie Garrett said it’s the hotel’s fifth year to host a themed New Year’s Eve and anticipates a crowd of about 200 for the occasion.
Shanghai Nights will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, music provided by Austin DJ Smoov Q, and drinks, with higher-end bottle service available. “It’s always a theatrical event . . . It’s like a getaway to Dallas or Austin,” she said. Hotel Indigo is offering a discounted room rate for overnight guests.
Great Gatsby New Year’s Party, 7 p.m., Kissing Tree Vineyards, 109 W. Third Street, Eddy; $100. Call (254) 859-8039.
The music and dancing are blasts from the past at the Great Gatsby New Year’s Party at Eddy’s Kissing Tree Vineyards. Waco jazz pianist Dave Wild, guitarist Chuck Jennings and trumpeter Byron Swann lead a combo in a night of vintage jazz and dance music.
The evening starts with swing dance lessons for those who want to try new old-school steps and attendees are encouraged to dress in 1920s styles, said Vineyards manager Jake Taylor. A half-dozen stations in the winery’s tasting room will pair foods with the vineyard’s wines. Kissing Tree Vineyards held a farm-to-table dinner limited to approximately 30 people for New Year’s Eve last year, he said, with two to three times that expected for this year’s event.
Other New Year’s Eve events include:
Sloppy Joe, 9 p.m., The Backyard, 511 S. Eighth St.; $10, $75-$100 for table for six.
Roger Kirby and Texas Heartbeat Band, 7:30 p.m., Geneva Hall, 740 S. Connally Drive, Elm Mott; $15, $25 per couple.
Bobby Dean & Timeless Country, 8 p.m., American Legion Post 121, 722 Leroy Parkway, Elm Mott; $15, $25 per couple.
The Ballou Cats (Cedric Ballou Band with Classie Ballou), 8 p.m. Rosati’s Pizza, 824 Hewitt Drive.
Bubba Haze, 8 p.m., Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon, 1505 N. Frontage Road, Lorena; $10.
Tejano Crossroads Band with Conjunto Villarrial and Moses Villarrial, 8:30 p.m., Mutualista Hall, 2214 S. 15th St.; $10, with proceeds benefiting Waco Hispanic Museum.
Huser Brothers, 10 p.m., Lakeside Tavern, 6605 Airport Road; free.