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New Year's Eve parties in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

Washington Center, First Night, Jazzbones, Brotherhood Lounge, The Social, Olympic Club and many others celebrate

The campy fun of old European cabaret and the hip style of today's music puree will collide when Vagabond Opera performs at the Washington Center New Year's Eve. Photo credit: Ben Z. Mund Photography

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New Year's Eve in Olympia is typically spent at a bar or restaurant - if not at a party at someone's house. But this year, there's a new place to be for the big moment: onstage at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

At the center's first New Year's Eve party, revelers will find space on stage to dance and listen to Vagabond Opera, which will be playing at the north end of the stage.

"It's a much more intimate concert," said Jill Barnes, the center's executive director. "That's exciting and fun. Not everyone gets a chance to be on the stage of the Washington Center."

And Portland's Vagabond Opera is not a band that just stands there and plays. The wild bunch is known as much for visual spectacle as for its blend of opera and world music.

New Year's Eve: Revelry at the Center is the new incarnation of the longtime fundraiser CenterFest, which last happened in 2012 with a concert by Manhattan Transfer.

The idea is to throw a huge party on the night when people are looking for a big party.

"We are really excited," says Anne Larsen, the center's marketing director. "We've had great response from people who have either not done anything on New Year's Eve or they've left town."

At midnight, a ball will drop, descending through the lobby's grand staircase.

In fact, the ball drop inspired the whole event, Larsen says. "I have the vision in my head," she says. "The rest of the event has grown from there.

Will it be a disco ball? "It will be a surprise," she says.

The party will include a silent auction, a spot with props for taking fun photos, hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and a champagne toast at midnight. Besides the festive onstage cabaret, there'll be quieter spots for mingling in the lobby.

To celebrate the music, partygoers are encouraged to dress with a cabaret or vaudeville flair or styles from the Art Nouveau era through the 1920s.

"We're encouraging people to come dressed up to suit the era," Larsen says. "There's been a lot of Roaring '20s parties around town lately. I'm hoping people will think they can get another use out of their flapper dress."

The hope is to attract revelers of all ages - and to launch a new annual fundraiser to support the center's education programs and help keep the rent affordable for community groups that use the space.

NEW YEAR'S EVE: REVELRY AT THE CENTER, 8 p.m. Dec. 31, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia, $100, 360.753.8586. For a package with a room at the Governor Hotel, call 360.352.7700.

More New Year's Eve Celebrations

First Night Tacoma, downtown Tacoma, First Night Tacoma-Pierce County is a family-friendly, arts-centered, alcohol-free celebration of New Year's Eve that takes place throughout the downtown Tacoma theater district. A First Night button costing approximately $10 ($14 day of event) is all it takes to gain admission to a number of different activities during the daylight hours. Children younger than 10 are admitted free of charge. The main event kicks off at 6 p.m. by a participatory parade that includes marching bands, costumes, masks and giant puppets. As the parade ends, music, dance, laughter fire and magic light up 20 different stages and spaces until midnight. The outdoor events are free to all festivalgoers. The theme is built around the Year of the Ram. Expect activities that will play with various aspects of the theme, utilizing artists from the community.  And, of course, everyone gathers at the outdoor main stage at midnight to join in music, dance, fire and wonder.

Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.284.4750. From noon to 5 p.m., make your own unique Conehead party hat with artist Jennifer Adams while enjoying ambient musical dreamscapes performed by Dean the Dreamweaver. Kick off First Night celebrations in Tacoma from 4-5 p.m. with fire dancers from Asraiya on Fire on MOG's main plaza.

Hands On Children's Museum, 414 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia, 360.956.0818. Noon Year's Eve, for families with children, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (opens at 9 a.m. for members). Admission is $8 for members, $10 for nonmembers and $4 for accompanying adults.

The Brotherhood Lounge, 119 Capitol Way N., Olympia, 360.352.4153. The Broho folks know how to party, especially New Year's Eve when DJ Dead Air spins rock, punk and disco from 9 p.m. to 2 am. It's $5 at the door, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to Safeplace. Expect balloons to fall on your head at midnight.

The Social Bar & Grill, 1715 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.301.3835. The Social Bar & Grill knows how to party. They often bring in hot DJs to match The Social's spicy cuisine, including Sunday afternoon DJ parties in the summer. New Year's Eve keeps the drive alive, with DJs, gifts and party favors, free champagne toast at midnight and a special prix fixe menu, for $65 a couple, or $85 with wine. You'll need to RSVP for this one.

Jazzbones, 2803 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.396.9169. New Year's Eve is all about letting go of the past and embracing the future. Jazzbones certainly isn't letting go of its blues, jazz and rock live music past, but it's embracing country music Dec. 31. After making it all the way to the top 10 in the 2013 version of The Voice, Duvall, Washington, native Austin Jenckes has been touring the nation. The big, bearded dude with a soulful, charismatic voice will join Enumclaw country music heroes Aces Up for a big hoedown on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue Dec. 31, beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $19-$35.

Olympic Club Hotel and Theater, 112 N. Tower Ave., Centralia, 360.736.5164. In keeping with its usual historic atmosphere, The Olympic Club is planning a New Year's bash that goes from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., with Hot Club Time Machine featuring jazz and blues vocalist Kat Cogswell. Dance your way into 2014 with a midnight balloon drop. Tickets can be purchased at the club for $10.

Eagles Hall, 805 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.970.5550. New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball with live music by Sour Owl, a costume contest, snacks, a champagne toast at midnight and breakfast in the wee hours. The fundraising event is for Eagles members and friends of members. (And as Eagle Nicole Mercier points out, "Everyone knows an Eagle in this town.") It kicks off at 7 p.m. (music begins at 9). Tickets are $20 per person or $35 per couple donation suggested.

Great American Casino, 10117 S. Tacoma Way, Lakewood, 253.396.0500. Great American Casino's 500 sq. ft. dance floor make it the ideal place to shake your booty to the R&B dance band Notorious 253 at 9 p.m. Cover charge applies New Year's Eve.

Emerald Queen Casino, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, 253.594.7777. More bang for your buck is the motto for Emerald Queen Casino's New Year's Eve, considering Three Dog Night will perform without a cover charge. Yes, free. The Cronkites will hit the stage at 8:30 p.m. and ring out the old with some classic rock and roll. Then, get ready to ring in the new with a free - yes, free - concert featuring Three Dog Night. We're talking "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)", "Joy to the World" and "Black and White."  Showroom event is bracelet-entry only. Limit of two bracelets per guest will be distributed starting at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 at the EQC I-5 Showroom escalators while supplies last. Get there early, as those suckers will be going like hotcakes. What the hell are hotcakes, anyway? Guests must be present to receive bracelets. Concert seating will be on first-come basis. In the I-5 Bridge Nightclub, Chapter 5 will hit the stage to say goodbye to 2014. Then, celebrate 2015's grand entrance with Raeann's Groove.

Red Wind Casino, 12819 Yelm Hwy. SE, Olympia, 360.412.5000. As you might expect, a disco will be heating up at the Red Wind Casino's nightclub. The Sonic Funk orchestra will headline the Nisqually casino's Gold & Glam party, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Expect complimentary party favors and a balloon drop at midnight.

Uncle Sam's American Bar & Grill, 16003 Pacific Ave. S., Spanaway, 253.507.7808. The Goth is strong in this one. Charlie Drown is the kind of group/artist/performer/whatever that's totally comfortable throwing around lyrics about beds made of skin and "48 dead in my head," all while drum machines and synths pulse in the background. Best, we think, to approach Charlie Drown as something that'll get you to dance madly and get all dark and stuff, beginning at 8 p.m.

Harmon Brewery & Restaurant, 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.2739. Rich Wetzel, his horn and his well-known Groovin' Higher Orchestra will tear into New Year's Eve with their annual New Year's Eve concert at the Harmon in downtown Tacoma. Expect a dinner special, party favors and champagne toast. Bonus: there's no cover.

Swing Wine Bar & Cafe, 825 Columbia St. SW, Olympia, 360.357.9464. Vince Brown and Greta Jane Pedersen perform, 6-9 p.m.

Red Lion Hotel, 2300 Evergreen Park Drive SW, Olympia, 360.943.4000. A Night on the Town in Top Hats and Tiaras, with a buffet dinner, entertainment by pianist Charlie Saibel, The Rasters and DJ Dave Lersten, beginning at 6 p.m. Cost is $149-$199 per couple including hotel room.

Wayne's Inn, 1902 E. Main, Puyallup, 253.848.3466. Wayne's Inn will host a New Year's Eve party beginning at 10 p.m. with champagne and a midnight balloon drop with a $500 prize in one balloon.

Courtyard By Marriott, 1515 Commerce St., Tacoma, 253.627.3535. In keeping with New Year's tradition, the Pacific Grill hosts crooner Chris Anderson, this time moving the show to the Courtyard By Marriott. The $59 tickets include a champagne toast and the smooth sounds of Anderson. Add $25 for the heavy appetizer buffet by Pacific Grill.

Buzz's Bar & Grill, 5018 Mud Bay Road NW, Olympia, 360.866.8335. It's always a beach party at Buzz's, and things will be extra spicy at its New Year's dance party, featuring disco reggae by Rewind.

Temple Theater, 47 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma. This is not just another same-ol' celebration. Who else is welcoming the New Year in Sparkle style? Tacoma's burlesque troupe Gritty City Sirens for a Sparkle! Sparkle! Sparkle! Party with live music by Champagne Sunday, burlesque, of course, belly dancing, drag and a dance party with DJ Broam. Tickets are $25 and include a chance to win a VIP package to the Siren's 2015 production of Adventures in OZ. Tickets for the 8:30 p.m. party are at

State Theater, 202 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, 360.786.0151. Harlequin Productions' The Stardust Christmas Commotion, 7 p.m. Dec. 31 with champagne toast at 9 (midnight Eastern time. Tickets are $39, $35 for military and seniors, $25 for students and those younger than 25.

Olympia Ballroom, 116 Legion Way, Olympia, 360.584.4614. Illumination, a New Year's Eve ritual and dance with 5Rhythms teacher Kate Shela. Please wear all white. Kicks off at 9 p.m., with tickets priced at $55 at

Morso, 9014 Peacock Hill Ave., Gig Harbor, 253.530.3463. There's nothing quite like a New Year's Eve at Morso, the only place where wine and cowboy hats happily co-exist. The Gig Harbor wine bar will convert into a Wild West Saloon, hosting a Monte Carlo-style casino with prizes, plus bubbles for toasting at midnight. Bat Masterson, Bret Maverick, James West, Wyatt Erp, Doc Holliday, Lottie Deno and Belle Starr and you should arrive at 9 p.m. The dinner buffet costs $75.

Malarkey's Pool & Brew, 445 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, 253.383.3301. If you're not into paying hiked-up cover charges, check out The Grit City Podcast's no cover New Year's Eve Bash at Malarkey's Pool & Brew. Hosts Brogan and Scott have invited their past podcast guests, including local actors, comedians, artists, athletes and musicians for a night of drinks, food, raffle prizes and a glass of champagne at midnight.

Puyallup River Alehouse, 120 S. Meridian, Puyallup, 253.268.0955. Attention beer and cider enthusiasts: the fine folks at Puyallup River Alehouse will welcome Two Beers Brewing Co. and sister company Seattle Cider for a night of beers, cider, giveaways, raffle prizes and free champagne toast at midnight.

Open Space for the Arts & Community, 11870 103rd Ave. SW., Vashon, 206.408.7241. Ring in the New Year on Vashon Island. The all-ages New Year's Eve Party & Costume Ball will celebrate New Year's Eve four times starting with New York at 9 p.m. and moving west from there. Expect confetti and a special surprise or two, plus the Teen VIP Room, Club Light Show, Shadow Box and Kids' Play Area, and music from m2domus Productions (aka DJs MirageSix and Whitmore). Cost is $10 and $5 for kids.

The Royal Bear, 35731 W. Valley Hwy. S., Algona, 253.833.6686. If cheap booze and variety cover music is your cup of tea, we've got the perfect suggestion. The refreshingly unpretentious folks at The Royal Bear will be ringing in the New Year with Grinder. The rocking starts at 9. It's an $8 cover and party favors and champagne toast are included.

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