BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
SALT LAKE CITY — The city may be cutting back on its New Year’s Eve activities, but there are still plenty of places to have fun.
This year, Salt Lake is replacing the multi-day, ticketed EVE celebration with the one-night, completely free Last Hurrah on Dec. 31 from 8 p.m. to just after midnight at Gateway Mall. The Leonardo is doing its own celebrating with Now or Never New Year’s Eve, a ticketed event that runs from 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. If late nights aren’t your thing, the Natural History Museum of Utah will hold its Noon Year’s Eve celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Every year we strive to create fun, engaging activities that kids of all ages will enjoy, and this year is no exception,” says Colleen McLaughlin, the museum’s public program manager of Noon Year’s Eve.
Last Hurrah is a streamlined, completely free version of the EVE event. Gates open at 8 p.m., with performances and dancing starting at 9 p.m. The first performer will be DJ Flash & Flare, followed by Samba Fogo, Crook & The Bluff, and Joshua James. Samba Fogo will have three performances, at 9:45 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 10:50 p.m. Fireworks will be set off at midnight, following the Joshua James performance. Most of the concerts are held outdoors, so attendees are advised to dress warmly.
There is also a speakeasy popup bar and a free game room featuring activities such a giant Jenga and chess, glow in the dark art boards, interactive digital games and more. Thanks to Comcast NBC Universal, there will be free parking during the event in both the north and south garages.
If you’re looking for a more exclusive party, The Leonardo’s Now or Never New Year’s Eve bash will also include an optional four-course dinner starting at 7 p.m. For those who want to cut straight to the party, the bash begins at 8:30 p.m. with cocktails, free appetizers, live performances, music, a champagne toast at midnight and more.
Admission to the party is $30 online at theleonardo.org and $35 at the door. To enjoy both the dinner and the party, tickets are $60. There is a discount on all tickets for members of The Leonardo.
For those who are celebrating with children, Noon Year’s Eve is designed for you. The event, which is included with the price of museum admission, will feature a countdown to a confetti explosion at noon. There will also be a live DJ and a variety of activities, including face painting, the chance to design a winter crown, Minute to Win It-style games, creating their very own Viking shield and the chance to take part in the Viking challenge. The first 1,000 guests will receive a party pack including a noise maker, necklace, and temporary tattoos.
The Leonardo is located at 209 E. 500 South in Salt Lake. The Natural History Museum of Utah is located on 301 Wakara Way (located on the east side of the University of Utah campus) in Salt Lake.
(Caption: Last year’s Noon Year’s Eve at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Courtesy photo)