Plenty to do heading into the New Year

12/26/2012 11:46 AM

12/28/2012 9:21 AM

Celebrating the new year doesn’t have to stop with New Year’s Eve on Monday. It also continues on Tuesday, and events both days go inside and out.

Many restaurants, taverns, nightclubs and taverns have parties on New Year’s Eve. Four local theaters also have shows that evening: “Christmas at Pirates Voyage Fun, Feast & Adventure,” Legends in Concert and “The Carolina Opry Christmas Special,” all in Myrtle Beach, and “The South’s Grandest Christmas Show” at the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach. (Details on these are on Page 3 in Best Bets.)

Making music, inside

Dawn Crans sings with the Southside Band, which will have its fifth annual New Year’s Eve party, keeping a tradition at the Sands Ocean Club Resort, just north of Myrtle Beach.

She said the four-piece group cherishes this concert and sees how the occasion turns into “date night” for many local and out-of-town audience members, especially through the “more romantic, slow dance songs.”

Crans said the band has a diverse selection of about 300 numbers to play.

“We get young people, we get older people, we get everyone,” Crans said. “We play anything from AC/DC to ‘At Last’ by Etta James.”

Asked about the most stirring song every New Year’s Eve, Crans said “Auld Lang Syne” gives her goose bumps every time.

“It’s the standard to ring in the new year,” she said. “It reminds you’re going out with the old and in with new and fresh beginnings.”

Jazzing up things

The Gold Key Jazz Society will throw its third annual New Year’s Eve concert at 9 p.m. Monday, at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, in Fantasy Harbour, just west of Myrtle Beach.

Elsie Graves, the group’s president, said this bash began as a fundraiser. “Denim and Diamonds” carried the theme last year, with about 75 people in attendance, and “A White Party” will usher in 2013 because “we’re kind of missing the snow,” she said.

With more vacationers signed up this year, from such places as Atlanta, Charleston and Charlotte, N.C., Graves said another memorable night is cued up.

The Pamoja Band will entertain, with a show paying tribute in the style of the Apollo Theater of Harlem, N.Y., giving the crowd a variety of music to get out and dance.

Graves said the songs will cover the gamut, not just with jazz, but rhythm and blues, Latin, reggae and country western. She said a 40-and-older demographic turns out for such jazz society parties, but that younger adults are welcome.

Of course, the party will include a champagne toast with the ball drop at midnight on television.

The jazz society already is gearing up for its next event in the new year, a Sweetheart Day in event in February, in tune with Valentine’s Day, Graves said.

Get out, as in outside

Brookgreen Gardens, in northeast Georgetown County, just wrapped up its three weekends of lighting up evenings in yuletide glory.

Helen Benso, Brookgreen’s vice president for marketing, said its “Stroll By Candlelight,” 6-9 p.m. Monday gives a brand new way to begin ringing in the new year.

“We did it,” she said, “because so many people had requested for us to extend ‘Nights of A Thousand Candles’ to after Christmas, when they had family visiting the area. This is sort of our answer to it.”

Although it’s not the full-blown “Nights” extravaganza, the stroll will include part of the gardens lit up, for people to “get a flavor of what ‘Nights of A Thousand Candles’ is like,” along with strolling musicians, and cocoa and cider available.

Guests could see the stroll as a warm-up to the whole evening, for other things to do out elsewhere or for going home and sharing the last moments of 2012 with family.

“For the party reveler,” Benso said, “it could be a pre-party event.”

Hiking in a fresh start

S.C. state parks, including Myrtle Beach and Huntington Beach, will again have “First Day Hikes” on Tuesday, to step into the new year with guided strolls among nature and scenery.

Myrtle Beach State Park will have hikes at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for families and adults, respectively, and a group at Huntington Beach will hoof it at 11 a.m. (Registration required at 235-8755 by 5 p.m. Saturday for the latter park’s event.)

Ann Malys Wilson, longtime interpretive ranger at Myrtle Beach State Park, said state parks across the country launched the Jan. 1 initiative for hikes in 2012.

“They really took off,” she said. “It’s a great way to start a new year on a different note, and get back to basics, and figure out what’s really important and take stock of the new year.”

Wilson cited an adage, “Take two hours of pine forest and call me in the morning,” and said a walk in the park lets people “get in tune” with wildlife and themselves for exercise and reflection.

The 2012 New Year’s Day hike at the park drew many vacationers, said Wilson, who noticed how bringing up various quotes spurred discussions and clicked with the adults. Devising the plan to begin 2013, she has added a second, earlier hike, for families with children.

“Once again,” Wilson said, “it’s just trying something different. It’s a great way to get cruising in on the new year.”

She said winter offers “a beautiful time to go through the woods,” or walk the beach, to look for wildlife, without the searing heat and the need for “swatting flies.”

Wilson said even if someone can’t visit a park to just venture out.

“Take advantage of getting outside,” she said. “It’s free.”

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