It was a year of wars ending, royals marrying, people occupying and icons passing. Now it's time to bid farewell to 2011 and begin the most anticipated year of the century. Will 2012 mark the end of the world, or just the beginning of an exciting new world? Whatever the outcome, celebrate 2012 in style with the best of the North Bay. Here are tons of ways to dance, sing, eat, drink laugh and generally amuse ourselves as we wrap up 2011.
Children of all ages will bring in the new year at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, and there are two chances to toast the New Year with friends of the Peanuts gang. At noon (the "other" 12 o'clock), watch the up/down balloon drop and toast with root beer; at 3pm, ice cream is added for a root beer float toast. Lots of crafts and more kid fun at the Charlie Brown New Year celebration.
Reserve a spot at Safari West for a wild New Year's Eve adventure with KZST's Brent Farris as he hosts this year's Romp with the Beasts. For $100, guests can dine, dance, drink and encounter furry friends; or, for $500, two adults can do all of the above and spend the night with wild animals and wake up to breakfast and Champagne in a luxury safari tent.
Live it up like there's No Tomorrow at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa. Start 2012 grooving to the incredible sounds of Sabin Cloud & Orestes (3rd FIST), Paul Timberman (Dirty Diamonds), $ymon, Club Trev, Coyolxauqui Aztec dancers and others, all for only $20.
The Moonlighters headline a big-band swing party at Russian River Brewing Company. Listen to great jazz and jitterbug your way into the New Year at one of downtown Santa Rosa's well-known hip hangouts, all for the cost of great brew.
Up at River Rock Casino, three wheel spins during the night could net you $10,000 or $100,000. Enjoy the sounds of highly acclaimed Hotel California as they play all your favorite Eagles hits. Supper is served at a prime-rib buffet for only $19.99. Plus drinks, party favors and all the gambling your heart desires.
Welcome to the New World at the Sebastopol Community Center. A $40 admission gets you Frobeck, the Love Choir, Mr. Music, David and Linda LaFlamme, the Phil Lawrence Band, Teresa Tudury, Moonbeams, Dances of Universal Peace with Tui and friends, plus a Drum Circle and a sacred ceremony at midnight.
Nothing is sacred in the offbeat and thoroughly twisted world of the famed satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer. Nonstop laughs are a given as a local cast performs his songs in 'Tomfoolery' at the Cinnabar Theater. Lehrer's dry sense of humor and good-natured take on life are more relevant now than ever; laugh you way into the New Year for $25–$35. The show opens New Year's Eve and runs through Jan. 22.
Finish out an amazing year early in the evening at the beautiful Petaluma Historical Museum. Petaluma's own Elizabeth Walter and members of the San Francisco Symphony play three centuries of classical masterpieces by Handel, Chopin, Dvorák and others, starting at 7pm. The setting makes this New Year's Eve gala a deal at $30.
Have a rockin' New Year's Eve with the Tubes at the River Theatre in Guerneville. Go back in time to the early '80s when jobs were plenty, music was bouncy and hair was big. The opening band even features Huey Lewis' bad-boy bassist Mario Cipollina; tickets are $30.
DJ Hope brings Las Vegas Style to Santa Rosa at the Chrome Lotus. Three rooms, 6,000 square feet and two bars make for a fun, open-forum, black-tie optional New Year's Eve celebration. Enzyme Dynamite and DJ E20 also perform. Drink, dance, shoot pool and celebrate for just $25.
Party big-city style as Antix Events takes over the entire Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park with four music areas spanning 22,000 square feet. Ten DJs playing everything from Top 40 to mashups, house, hip-hop, electro and backbeat lounge tracks. Hotel rooms include two to four tickets; dress shoes and dress shirt required. Tickets are $40; $140 VIP.
Sebastopol's Hopmonk Tavern features a night of high-octane hootenanny with Poor Man's Whiskey and their upbeat performances, zany stage antics and infectious songs. Acoustic and electric instruments weave tales of everyday life inviting the audience to become a part of each show. Enjoy and evening of great beer and good fun for just $30.
Join the Cloverleaf Ranch as it hosts a New Year's Eve gala at the Fountain Grove Inn, supporting Rotary Summer Camp for abused children and the Elder Care Expo for families caring for aging loved ones. For $75 per person, Korbel Champagne will pour and a no-host bar will be available. Dance, eat and participate in the silent auction to round out a night of giving back for a generous start to 2012.
The legendary Elvin Bishop and his band, along with Sonoma County's own Pat Jordan Band and Piece of My Heart featuring Julie Medeiros, will headline the Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa. This fun-filled night of blues and alternative rock includes a balloon drop, Champagne toast and snacks (special dinner menu available with reservations) for $50.
At Aubergine in Sebastopol, join the Vintage Ball with Uncle Wiggly, Hand Me Down and Chango B for $20–$25. . . . Over in Cotati, Levi Lloyd and the 501's take over the Tradewinds Bar. . . . The French Garden in Sebastopol swings with Honey B and the Pollinators for $25 and an optional four-course dinner beforehand for $75. . . . The Mystic Theatre in Petaluma features Tommy Castro for $51–$56. . . . Out near the coast in Valley Ford, Rocker Oysterfeller's hosts a réveillon dinner for $75. . . . At Guerneville's Main Street Station enjoy Brulee Jazz with a Twist for $15 or $25 per couple. . . . and Santa Rosa's Sixth Street Playhouse features Sandy and Richard Riccardi in an All-Comedy Cabaret reminiscent of SNL for $20–$50. . . . and the Ledson Hotel in Sonoma has the Jess Petty Duo until midnight with no cover charge.
Get ready for some gut-busting action as the Best of the San Francisco Comedy Competition cracks up the Marin Center in San Rafael. Every type of joke is fair game as this variety show makes us laugh 'til it hurts for only $30.
Eight years running, Mark Pitta hosts the 142 Throckmorton Theatre New Year's Eve Annual Bash in Mill Valley. Music by Danny Click and the Americana Orchestra, comedy by Mike Pace, and year-end musings by Mort Sahl come together with food and bubbly to make for a cerebrally pleasurable $65 New Year's Eve.
Imagine the 85's opening a show with hits by artists like Berlin, Pat Benatar, the Clash, the English Beat, Duran Duran, the Eurythmics, the Fixx and others. Then, the ultimate Tom Petty tribute band, Petty Theft, shows up to rock the rest of the night. A musical dream? Nope, its real, and it all happens on New Year's Eve in San Rafael at George's Nightclub for $35–$40.
Marin County-based band Hot Buttered Rum play the Palm Ballroom in San Rafael for a New Year's Eve spectacular. See the band as they prepare for their first studio recording in 2012. In addition, festival favorite New Monsoon perform from their latest album, Live from Texas. All ages are welcome at this lively show for only $30.
Andonis Quartet plays Horizons in Sausalito. . . . The Barge in Sausalito features Rhythmtown Jive. . . . Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael hosts a Stand-up Comedy Showcase featuring Rick Overton for $30–$35. . . . The Presidio Yacht Club in Sausalito swings in the new year with Lonestar Retrobates for $15. . . . 19 Broadway Nightclub in Fairfax holds a New Year's Eve Extravaganza with Chrome Johnson and Honeydust for $23.
Kick off 2012 at the Uptown Theatre in Napa with an amazing show featuring Ozomatli. Groove all night to the eclectic combination of hip-hop, salsa, dancehall, samba, funk, and Jamaican reggae. Guests La Santa Cecelia and comedian Gabriel Iglesias round out this music, dance and comedy extravaganza for $50–$85.
Travel into the New Year with the Napa Valley Wine Train. This event adds color by hosting a Black, White and Pink Ball. This sensational gala will raise money for local breast cancer patients beginning at 7pm with a multicourse meal while winding its way through the beautiful Napa Valley Wine Country. Upon returning at 11pm, the party continues until 1pm with music and dancing. Tickets are $235 or $50 for the afterparty only.
Westin Verasa Napa and La Toque host their over-the-top Black and White Party, which includes a delicious five-course dinner at La Toque and a Vintage Hollywood-themed Ball held at the Westin Verasa Napa. Tickets are $75, and $195 with dinner. Music, dancing and Champagne caps an elegant evening on the town.
At Silo's in Napa, enjoy the silky smooth vocals of Terry Bradford in two shows, at 7pm for $75 and 10pm for $100. . . . Domaine Chandon in Yountville hosts a Carnival New Year's Eve celebration for $75 . . . . Shake your groove thing at the Napa Valley Marriott & Spa Boogie Ball for $75 . . . . And Silverado Resort and Spa offers dancing, Champagne and a midnight balloon drop for $40.