On the to-do list this week: Ring in the New Year! We’re in the final few days of 2021 and there are many ways to make the most of the New Year in Philadelphia, including fireworks, strange ball drop traditions, parties, and more.

On my personal to-do list: I’m going to take advantage of this holiday weekend’s warm weather and spend some time at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

We’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here. Stay healthy, stay safe, and get vaccinated.

Jillian Wilson

Holiday toolkit

Holiday weekend planner

Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:

🏛️ Happy Birthday, Dr. Barnes!, Barnes Foundation (Art / in-person / free / kid-friendly) Albert Barnes would have turned 150 on Jan. 2, and the good doctor’s namesake museum celebrates this milestone with free admission (registration required), toddler wordplay, balloon making and magic by Mlanjeni and Mr. Q, spiritual singing by Solomon Temple, and birthday hat-making. Registration opens Dec. 30. Ages 2-12. (Free, Jan. 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., barnesfoundation.org)

🔎 Find more of this week’s events, and we even have a kid-friendly events calendar, too.

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The fireworks above the Delaware River were canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re back this year with two free shows along the waterfront — the first at 6 p.m. and the second when the clock strikes 12 a.m. The fireworks go off right by Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, making that the best area to catch prime views. The fireworks can be viewed for free from numerous vantage points along the Delaware River, including:

This year’s fireworks display features a range of musical hits: songs by composer John Williams for the 6 p.m. show and tunes from the ‘70s for the midnight show.

» READ MORE: Your complete guide to New Year’s Eve 2021 in Philly

Do this

With both the omicron and delta COVID-19 variants surging in the Philadelphia region, spending time outside this New Year’s Eve is much safer than gathering indoors. Luckily, there are many outdoor ball drops happening throughout Pennsylvania this New Year’s Eve, and many of them are pretty unique — we’re talking a giant mushroom drop, a pickle drop, a bologna drop, and much more. Here’s our full guide to ball drops in the region, and here are a few of our picks:

Hershey Chocolate Kiss Raise

The city switches things up by raising a Hershey’s Kiss at 11:59 p.m. Then, as soon as the clock strikes midnight, fireworks light up the skies in Chocolatetown Square. (Dec. 31, 11:59 p.m., Chocolate & Park Avenues, Hershey, hersheynewyears.org)

Kennett Square Mushroom Drop

The mushroom capital of the world raises a 700-pound, stainless-steel mushroom. The giant mushroom will be raised up at 8:55 p.m. on Dec. 31, although New Year’s Eve celebrations begin at 7:30 p.m. with live performances by Kevin Pierce, KMC Dancers, and more. The annual laser show will take place later on in the evening, and will be streamed on Facebook and Instagram. (Dec 31, 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., 600 Broad St., Kennett Square, midnightinthesquare.com)

Dillsburg Pickle Drop

A large figure known as Mr. Pickle is lowered at midnight, and a smaller version (perhaps a gherkin?) is lowered earlier for children (the “Lil’ Dill Drop”). Located in front of the borough hall on South Baltimore Street, this year’s pickle drop promises a range of events including shopping, food from local restaurants, and a fireworks show. (Free, Dec. 31, event begins at 4:30 p.m.; pickle drop at midnight, 151 S. Baltimore St., Dillsburg, carrolltownship.com)

» READ MORE: Pennsylvania’s weirdest ball drops happening New Year’s Eve 2021

Insta inspo

The Christmas season comes and goes in what feels like the blink of an eye. Already, it’s time to get rid of our twinkling Christmas trees. But, getting rid of your Christmas tree doesn’t have to be sad, it can be festive instead thanks to the folks at the Philly Goat Project. They’re hosting their annual tree-cycle event at the farm at Awbury Arboretum. At the event, goats get to snack on no-longer-needed Christmas trees and guests get to enjoy hot chocolate, hanging out by fire pits, visits with the goats, and more. You can get rid of your tree on two upcoming Saturdays: Jan. 8 and 22.

Party icebreaker🍸

Thanks for reading! We’ll be back in 2022 with info on fun winter events and post-holiday activities. But in the meantime, here’s a little fact that will help you socialize this season:

A certain dessert-loving family who have been making beloved Italian pastries since 1921 (100+ years) is opening a new pastry shop on S. Eighth St. That family? Termini, of course.