Usher in the new year with musical performances, activities, and an early fireworks show Friday at First Night Haddonfield 2011.
This six-hour event, offered rain or shine, begins at 5:30 p.m. at venues along Kings Highway from the 400 block up to Warwick Road. Headlining the celebration are visual humorist and musician Michel Lauzière at 6 and 7:45 at the Haddonfield Memorial High School auditorium; the Philadelphia Boys Choir at 8 and 10:30 in First Presbyterian Church's sanctuary; and the Screaming Orphans, a rock group of sisters from Ireland, at 9:15 and 11 at the Haddonfield Middle School auditorium.
Feature performances throughout the evening include the Jersey Sound Chorus, local teen singer Jennifer Fritz, Brett Speesler, Kyle Brody, Kneehigh Spunk, jazz vocalist Toni Richards, Celtic performing artist Charlie Zahm, and Chinese folk musician Lijun Wu.
Another highlight is the Republic Bank KidZone from 6 to 8:45 at Haddonfield Central Elementary School, with musical performances by Meg Russell and the Paisley Pickles and martial-arts activities. At Kings Court from 7 to 8:30, kids can have their picture taken with Stoney the Party Llama, which will be dressed in a tuxedo. Fireworks begin at 9. A teen dance will be held downstairs at First Presbyterian Church from 9:15 until midnight.
Attendees can walk around to various venues or take the free shuttle buses from 5:30 until midnight.
First Night Haddonfield patterns itself after a tradition that was started in Boston in 1976 to bring the community together for an alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration. First Night Haddonfield 2011 is sponsored by Subaru.
On Friday, enjoy fireworks and a New Year's Eve celebration at Longwood Gardens.
Festivities begin at 3 p.m. and will include face-painting, kids' crafts, and balloon artists. Rob Dickenson and the Brandywine Christmas Minstrels will perform from 4 to 8 in the Special Events Pavilion. The Partimers Barbershop Quartet will perform from 5 to 9 in the East Conservatory. Families can participate at the gardens' organ sing-alongs at 2, 3, and 4 and attend an organ concert at 6 an 7:30 in the ballroom. A five-minute fireworks show will begin at 8:30.
Festivities are free with admission. Hot chocolate and refreshments will be sold. Longwood Gardens will be open New Year's Day.
Children can celebrate New Year's Eve on Friday without having to stay up late at the Please Touch Museum's "Countdown to Noon."
The museum will open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shortly before noon, its Flag Corps will lead the way as King Countdown parades into Hamilton Hall. King Countdown will dance with little partygoers as they prepare to welcome the new year. As the minutes near noon, the 2011 Ball will descend from the Hamilton Hall dome. Confetti and streamers will blast from countdown cannons celebrating the arrival of 2011. Festivities will continue with a family dance party with musician Louie Miranda and King Countdown. Another countdown for kids to enjoy will begin at 1.
"Countdown to Noon" is supported by Macy's. The museum will also be open New Year's Day.