MARQUEE - New year ahead

Here are a few ideas to help you start your 2011 with a bang


New Year's Eve is nothing if not a versatile holiday. Unoffically, of course, since the calendar only records Jan. 1 as the legal holiday.

Yet the eve of every new year is when folks seem eager to try out novel ideas, in keeping with a calendar changeover.

As a time for looking back over the past year, it's a day less fraught with expectations or hide-bound by family tradition in most cases, although many enjoy the tried-and-true of established celebrations.

Because, really, what could ever replace going over to your sister's, chilling on root beer and eating popcorn while watching "Bridget Jones's Diary?"

However you decide to spend New Year's Eve, the Walla Walla Valley and just beyond offers a number of ways to send out 2010 and usher in the fresh horses of 2011. Those include events for people who want to be home before the magic hour, as well:

* Walla Walla Elks Lodge, 351 E. Rose St., 525-2870 -- Billed as "two parties in one," the Elks crew is offering DJ Randy -- playing a wide variety of music -- on the club's main stage and Elvis impersonator Burle Craven on the "New York New Year's" stage, 6-9 p.m.

For $10 with advance ticket sale, celebrants can mix and match parties, down a champagne toast, enjoy a post-midnight breakfast and win party favors and giveaways. For another $20, a 6 p.m. dinner featuring prime rib of chicken by A Wing and A Prayer catering can be had. Drink specials and $1 Jell-O shots will be available throughout the evening.

At the door, tickets will run $13 for the parties and $35 for the whole shindig.

* The Oasis, Old Milton Highway and Stateline Road, 541-938-4776 -- at 7 p.m., no-cover piano music in the lounge. Beginning at 9 p.m., with a cover charge of $15 per couple or $10 per person, a "bash" with the Frog Hollow Band. Full dinner menu is available, as is champagne by the glass or the bottle. Party favors included, dinner reservations recommended.

* Sapolil Cellars, 15 E. Main St., 509-520-5258 -- Carolyn Mildenburger on grand piano, 4-7 p.m., no cover charge.

* Eagles Aerie, 350 S. Second Ave., 529-3333 -- Prime rib dinner and dancing to the Johnny No Land Band, 6 p.m.-12:30 a.m.. $35 for couples, $20 singles. Reservations recommended.

* Valley Christian Center, 800 N. Main St., Milton-Freewater, 541-938-7161 -- Free 7 p.m. concert by Darrin Montgomery, featuring music from his new release, "Peace." Montgomery is regionally known as a contemporary Christian artist. Snacks follow in the fellowship hall.

* Skye Book and Brew, 148 E. Main St., Dayton -- "Eastern Time Zone" celebration, 7-9 p.m., no cover charge. Music by Bobby K and Mike. Dinner special available, reservations encouraged.

* VFW Post 992, 102 N. Colville, 525-1310 -- Live music by Stone Country. Cover charge is $15 per person which includes midnight buffet and champagne toast. Reservations are recommended, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

* Hamley's Steakhouse, 8 S. E. Court Ave., Pendleton, 541-278-1100 -- Masquerade ball, 8 p.m.-1 a.m., with music by Walla Walla-based band Lark Drive. Tickets are $10. Reservations highly recommended, full dinner menu available, drink and raffle specials throughout the evening.

* Pomeroy High School gymnasium, 1090 Pataha St., 509-843-2414 -- Christian rock concert by the Fantastics, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Free admission; hot dogs, soda and chips sold to support community worship.

* Wildfire Sports Bar, Wildhorse Casino and Resort, 72777 Hwy. 331, 800-654-9453, ext. 1777 -- Dance and R&B music by Society's Child at 9 p.m. The Edsels, featuring 1950s rock n' roll begins at 10:30 p.m. No cover charge; party favors, balloon drop and midnight toast included.

* CrossRoads Steakhouse, 207 W. Main St., 522-1200 -- Northwest powerhouse group, The Tommy Hogan Band, plays original blues and rock, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Cover is $10. There will be party hats, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. The regular dinner menu will be served. Guests must make dinner reservations before 8:30 p.m. if they want to stay for the music.

* Clarion Hotel, 1515 George Washington Way, Richland, 509-554-2753 -- The Randy Oxford Band will play jazz and blues and Mudshark changes it up with eclectic rock covers, 8 p.m.-1:30 a.m. $50 per person cover includes pasta bar, dessert buffet and champagne toast.

CrossRoads Steakhouse, 207 W. Main St., 509-522-1200. The Tommy Hogan Band will perform from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. with a $10 cover charge.


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