First Night Hartford 2014
1028 Blvd. #323
West Hartford, CT 06119
For the past 25 years, Hartford’s First Night has been Connecticut’s grandest New Year’s Eve celebration. This year will be no different, with shows and exhibits in over a dozen Hartford landmarks. Check out the acrobatic performance “Traditions of China” in the Wadsworth Athaneum, watch stunt rider Mike Steidley show what he can do on a mountain bike in the XL Center or play a giant board game inside City Hall. Among the local music acts performing are the blues rockers the Balkun Brothers and folk and bluegrass singer Bill Walach. As usual, the State House Food Court will be open until 9 p.m. and two fireworks displays will be held in Bushnell Park at 6 p.m. and midnight.
Dancing New Year’s Eve CT
Sheraton Stamford Hotel
700 E. Main St.
Stamford, CT 06901
For an elegant New Year’s Eve party, gather your closest friends and register for a night of semi-formal dining and dancing at the Sheraton Stamford Hotel. A buffet dinner will be served at 8 p.m. featuring chicken piccata and penne ala vodka, and admission price includes an open bar (there will also be an open soda bar for children). Then at 10 p.m., the ballroom opens up for a night of West Coast Swing, Hustle and salsa dance to music spun by New York DJs Wes Carrajat and Nino Torre. If you need to brush up on the featured dances, the hotel will provide free lessons beginning at 3 p.m.
2014 Comix Countdown
Foxwoods Resort Casino
39 Norwich-Westerly Road
Ledyard, CT 06338
Those looking for comic relief on New Year’s Eve should head to Foxwoods for its 2014 Comix Countdown show. Appearing will be up-and-coming standup comic Mark Normand, an increasing presence on Comedy Central who last year was named by Esquire magazine as one of the country’s best new comedians. The bill also includes the popular music and comedy act Dueling Pianos. Stick around to swig some champagne at midnight and then sample some delicious desserts.
New Year’s Eve Contra Dance Party
West Hartford Town Hall
50 S. Main St.
West Hartford, CT 06107
For a celebration with shades of classic Americana, West Hartford’s Town Hall is your best bet. Contra dancing is closely related to square dancing, with an announcer calling out instructions to the couples on the floor. The music will be provided by Boston’s Nor’easter, who play lively string-based roots music. There’s a potluck dinner before the dance gets underway so make sure you bring a dish that can feed at least eight people. Plenty of refreshments will be on hand and there’s a toast at midnight.
300 York St.
New Haven, CT 06511
The venerable Toad’s has been Connecticut’s greatest nightclub and concert venue for almost 40 years. This year, it is again throwing its NYE Extravaganza starring the Grateful Dead tribute band Shakedown. It will be a classic New Year’s Eve bash complete with party favors, champagne and a balloon drop. Toad’s will even serve you your first meal of 2014 – a complimentary continental breakfast.
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Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.