Got plans for Sunday night?
If you're looking for something to do, the options range from bowling to skating to simply toasting the new year in with champagne and fine food.
Probably one of the most notable events scheduled for New Year's Eve is the third annual Volcano Blast, a black tie ball that will be held at Paradisos Restaurant in Kenai. The event is hosted by the North Pacific Volcano Learning Center.
The Blast begins at 9 p.m. and includes hors d'oeuvres, music by a DJ, door prizes, a no-host bar and plenty of party favors.
The biggest change this year is the location.
"It was held where the Sears store is now," said Diana Zirul, president of the board of governors for the volcano learning center. "We're expecting about 70 to 80 people, but we can accommodate 100."
At the stroke of midnight, the champagne will flow and the volcano blasts off -- hence the name.
"It actually explodes and throws confetti," Zirul said. "The first year it wasn't so great, but last year it was, and this year we got it down. Our technicians tell us we're going to have a good one."
Besides tickets to the event, there are raffle tickets for sale for Hawaii, Alyeska and Homer packages. People can get both tickets at Peninsula Ear, Nose and Throat or the Kenai Chrysler Center, both in Kenai. If they don't sell out first, tickets also may be available at the door.
"It's to support the learning center, and it's a good time," Zirul said.
The cost is $50 per person; the proceeds benefit the proposed volcano learning center.
Things will be rolling at Alaska Lanes in Kenai from 7 p.m. until after midnight. For $35 per person, participants will enjoy a buffet dinner, party favors, snacks and a three-game colorama -- a game called easy money.
"When you get a strike, you get money," manager Ken Liedes said.
Liedes said he throws the party annually and it is always a success. Beer and wine will be sold on the premises.
"Usually it is full. We have 12 lanes, and we pretty much fill them," he said.
Several restaurants will feature special deals on dining, including Don Jose's, the Peninsula Steak House and Papa Murphy's.
A few offer more.
In Soldotna, Mykel's Restaurant will have a special menu and music by Guitar Wally, a one-man band who plays southern rock and blues, from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
"It went pretty well last year," said owner and manager Alice Paulson. "It was a lot of fun."
Changes this year include moving the music to the main level, "so you can dine, dance and party all on the same level."
Paulson has one suggestion if you plan to dine and party at the restaurant: Make a reservation.
"If you didn't make a reservation last year, you had to wait," she said.
The Riverside House will hold a party in the lounge with an "After 10" party with DJ Ian. There will be party favors and champagne at midnight.
Buckets Sports Bar will be open late with karaoke, trivia games and the traditional midnight toast.
AMVETS Post No. 4 will have a New Year's Eve bash. Dancing begins at 9 p.m. with music by the Baked Alaskans 2001 Party Band, featuring Matt Boyle, Mike Morgan and Joe Tromblee with special guest Bill "Dr. Z" Zumwalt. The post is in the Red Diamond Center on Kalifornsky Beach Road. The event is open to the public.
In Kenai, the New King's Inn has a New Year's Eve package consisting of music, door prizes, party favors and champagne.
Music highlights celebrations at other locations. The Mabrey Brothers Band will kick off the evening at the Rainbow Bar at 10 p.m.; Gypsy and the Vagabonds will perform at 9 p.m. at the Vagabond Inn; and the Danglin' Wrangler and Chuckwagon Slim will play at Jimmy's Cantina at the Katmai Hotel. Champagne and party favors are included at each location.
Kids can start their weekend by experiencing the gift of exploration at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai. The last event of the calendar year will be an overnight mission, "Overnight Rendezvous with a Comet," for grades four through eight. It will be from 4 p.m. Friday through 1 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $80. For more information or to sign up, call 283-2000.
The Kenai Recreational Center will be open Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. However, from there, kids can head over to Alaska Great Skate in Soldotna for a party from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The party is for kids elementary school ages through 15. But the fun is not limited to the group, said owner Guy Hayes; parents also are welcome.
Hayes will offer skating for $18 per child to cover the cost of skates and skating. Prizes will be given away every 10 to 15 minutes. Parents will be admitted at no cost, and adults will be on hand to supervise the activities.
Hayes said he has offered the New Year's Eve party for the past six years and usually more than 100 attend the festivities. Snacks will be provided and the snack bar will be open to those wanting other refreshments.
"They don't go away hungry or unsatisfied," Hayes said.
For families and nondrinkers who want to celebrate the holiday, there is an alternative. Veronica's Coffee House in Kenai will host a game night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Games will be available, such as Monopoly and cribbage, as well as nonalcoholic beverages and a Southern menu.
Speaking of southern, those heading in that direction on the peninsula can watch Love Tap perform at the Anchor River Inn in Anchor Point starting at 9 p.m. Sunday to help rock in the new year.
Land's End will have dinner, dancing and fireworks on the beach with entertainment by comedian Jim Henderson. There also will be a New Year's champagne toast and appetizers.
For those really want to get out of town, the Anchorage Opera will co-produce the festive New Year's Eve Ball with KAKM TV/KSKA FM at the Captain Cook Hotel. The theme for the evening will be "Great Performances" and there will be cocktails, dinner and dancing. The cost is $125 per person. Silent and live auctions will take place, as well as live entertainment. For more information, call Florence Rooney at (907) 522-1707.
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