First Night Burlington County 2012 Year of the Dragon will offer a New Year's Eve celebration with performances, dancing in the streets, a pet parade, fireworks, and more.

Events are scheduled from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday in the historic downtown of Mount Holly along High Street. A pet parade beginning at 6 will feature categories such as best-dressed owner and pet, biggest ears, and most unusual. The parade will be judged by Burlington County Community College president Bob Messina, CBS3's Carol Erickson, and veterinarian Cliff Sporn of Schoolhouse Animal Hospital.

There will be fire dancing by Adano Ignis at 6:45, 7:30, 8:15, and 9. The High Street Art Gallery will host an art contest from 7:30 to 9 for children ages 6 to 14, who will paint and design a pre-sketched drawing that celebrates the Year of the Dragon. Musical performances will be offered at venues throughout historic downtown, featuring Gypsy and the Punk, the rockabilly group April Mae and the June Bugs, klezmer music by Ben Sutin and friends, folk blues musician Skip Flatt, gospel by Lore Constantine and Ron Campbell, jazz by Adelante, and others.

From 5 to 8, festival goers can take tours of the Burlington County Prison Museum, where they can see a dragon ice chair carving sculpted by Ice Concepts as well as a light show on the museum wall. From 5:30 to 6:30 and 7 to 8, attendees can watch the making of origami dragons. From 5 to 6, the YMCA will host a noisemakers workshop for kids. The Rancocas Valley Regional High School Art Club will offer face painting, dragon tattoos, and bracelet making from 6:30 to 7:30. From 8 to 9, attendees can learn how to make dragon masks.

Celebration activities will be hosted at the prison museum's warden's house, St. Andrew's, the Masonic Lodge, Friends Meeting, High Street Art & Framing, the law office at 69 High St., the Burlington Community College Center, and Isabella's Olde World Bakery. The evening will end with a 9:15 Comcast Cable fireworks show that can be seen from High Street.

First Night Burlington County 2012 is organized by Main Street Mount Holly and Burlington County Community College. Proceeds will benefit the revitalization of Mount Holly.

New Year's for families

Dave & Busters will hold family New Year's Eve parties Saturday at their Philadelphia and Plymouth Meeting locations, offering a festive night of food, fun, and games.

The party at Plymouth Meeting, scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m., will include an all-you-can-eat buffet, unlimited soft drinks, and ice cream. Entertainment will feature a magic performance by Mystique and a live DJ. Children will receive power cards that include 48 chips for redemption games and unlimited free play on all video games. The party will also have a balloon drop.

The Philadelphia location also will have a buffet. Children will receive $40 game cards, and there will be a balloon artist roaming the party. At 6 p.m., families can watch the city's fireworks from indoors. Tickets for both parties must be purchased in advance.

New Year's Eve at Longwood Gardens

On Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m., Longwood Gardens offers families a day of entertainment, activities, and fireworks.

The garden will organize party-hat crafts and organ music from 3 to 9 p.m. Illusionists and jugglers will entertain attendees. Other festivities include performances by the Olde Town Carolers, Frank the Dog Barbershop Quartet, the PartiGras Band, and the Wilmington Handbell Ensemble. The evening will feature a five-minute fireworks show at 6 p.m. The event is free with admission; tickets must be purchased in advance at