BY ASHLEY FISCHER Contributing writer
Looks like we survived that pesky apocalypse; now, let's celebrate!
Whether you're bidding a fond farewell to 2012 or eagerly awaiting a fresh start in 2013, Kern County is offering up plenty of exciting ways to ring in the new year.
New Year's Eve Party at the Crystal Palace
When: Dinner 6 p.m.; 8:45 p.m. without dinner; 9 p.m. music; 1 a.m. party ends
Where: Buck Owens Crystal Palace, 2800 Buck Owens Blvd.
Admission: $80 with dinner; $44 without dinner
Information: 322-5200 or vallitix.com
When: 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Where: Manny's Tam O'Shanter, 2345 Alta Vista Drive
Admission: $25 in advance; $30 at the door
Skateland's New Year's Eve Party
When: 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Where: Skateland, 415 Ming Ave.
Admission: $12, includes skate rental, noisemaker, and balloon
Other New Year's Eve events
Knights of Columbus Hall: New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dance, hosted by Knights of Columbus St. Francis Council #977; music by Prisoners of Love, dinner, dancing, raffle, 50/50 drawing, no host cocktails, 6 p.m. Monday to 1 a.m. Tuesday, 108 Goodman St. $35. 332-2976 or 205-6887.
Most places will provide a complimentary glass of champagne and a shower of confetti at midnight, but three popular Bakersfield establishments go a little further, putting their own distinct spin on the traditional New Year's Eve festivities.
If you're eager to sing "Auld Lang Syne" with a bit of a country twang, look no farther than Buck Owens' Crystal Palace.
"We feel that the Crystal Palace is one of the premier attractions in the San Joaquin Valley, so coming here is the perfect way to ring in the new year," said Buckaroo Jim Shaw. "We pay a lot of attention to detail here, so the entire experience is the best we can make it. Everybody's gonna have a terrific time."
Since it opened in 1996, the Crystal Palace has been serving up a distinctly Bakersfield-style celebration, replete with good food, good music, and a whole lot of dancing. Bakersfield favorites Mento Buru and Stampede will perform a mixture of ska/rock/blues/country certain to keep your boots shuffling way past midnight.
Also, in an attempt to accommodate those of us with budget-related resolutions, there are two ticket options this year: one with dinner, one without. The $80 ticket includes admission, some party favors, and a four-course meal, with choice of steak, stuffed chicken breast, prime rib or salmon. If you're fine with munching on some of those lingering holiday leftovers before hitting the town, 44 bucks gets you the full Crystal Palace party experience for about half the price.
For a truly unique way to kick off your 2013, check out Manny's Tam O'Shanter for the New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball.
Even though it's a bit of a mouthful, the concept is pretty straightforward: Throw on a mask and your glitziest party attire, then head over to this east Bakersfield restaurant for cocktails, dancing and a good time.
"This is our second year doing this," said owner Manny Mendez. "Last year it was very successful; people loved it. I think it's something different for this area. It gives people the chance to dress up nice and go out and have a great time."
The ball begins at 8 p.m., and there will be no shortage of activities to keep you going until its conclusion at 1 a.m.: raffles, a costume contest, music provided by local artist Versatil, and lots of homemade tamales.
Each $25 ticket will include homemade chicken or jalapeno and cheese tamales.
And then there's the kids. Though New Year's Eve typically is a time for adults to dance, drink, and be merry, for those who want to squeeze in one last solid evening of quality family time before the conclusion of the holiday season, Skateland's New Year's Eve celebration is the place to be.
Not a drop of alcohol will be served, but the snack bar will be open, preparing Skateland's signature "rink food" (hot dogs, Frito boats, sodas, etc.). Games will be played to keep you rolling all through the night, and more than 1,000 balloons will be dropped at midnight.
"We're safe, we're contained, we're kid friendly, we're a family place and we're family run," said owner Natalie Fries, "so we're a great place for families and kids of all ages to spend their New Year's."