Don't worry if you haven't made plans for New Year's Eve yet; it's not the end of the world.
While some folks believed it would all be over on Dec. 21 -- the end of the 5,125-year Mayan calendar -- the rest of us are getting ready to party like there's no tomorrow, in a strictly figurative sense, to bid farewell to the old year and usher in a new one.
There are still plenty of options around Winnipeg for doing so, many of which are likely to include a glass of champagne, party hats, noisemakers, feasting and midnight kisses from friends and strangers alike.
Some young Winnipeggers are opting for alternatives to the club and bar and gala scene, opting instead to create their own celebrations to ring in 2013.
David Koss, 32, and his wife plan to host a house party -- complete with quinzhees, hot tub and bonfires -- for about 30 of their closest friends. Not only is it difficult to find a public event that can accommodate such a large group, he says, it's getting increasingly difficult to find one that appeals to his demographic.
"They seem to be either set up for 18-year-olds or the 40-plus crowd," says Koss. "There doesn't seem to be a lot available within that bridge group. It's easier to do our own thing, create our own opportunity."
Denyse Pouteau, 25, says she hasn't rung in the New Year at a bar since she was 18.
"It was $20 cover to get in and then standing in line to get a drink took forever, so after that it's just been house parties and low-key," says Pouteau, who will toast 2013 at a wedding reception.
"When you're at a house party, all the people there are your friends and you have somewhere to sleep, too, if you need it and don't have to worry about calling a cab or standing on a street corner in the cold waiting for one to drive by."
Adam Huybers, 24, celebrated at a night club two years ago, but says it "was a pain" to get a taxi home.
This year, he's staying in.
"I know I'm only 24, but I feel like a lot of the bars and nightclubs are for younger people," Huybers says. "I'm not interested so much in that anymore. I have a lot of fitness goals for 2013, so staying up late and drinking till I throw up isn't really a high priority anymore. I'm more interested in going to see the fireworks at The Forks."
For those of you who are interested in a night on the town, here are a few options. For more choices, see the club and concert listings on page 8. Happy New Year!
THE Winnipeg Convention Centre is the site of the city's swankiest New Year's Eve event. Celebrate in style at Rock 'n' Soul, featuring a five-course beef and lobster dinner followed by dancing till the wee hours. Ron Paley's 21-piece band will provide its famous musical impetus for wearing out your soles.
A reception at 6 p.m. will showcase dual piano players as they present an ivory-tickling trip back in time to the birth of rock and roll. Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails will be served, followed by dinner at 7:15 p.m. The evening will also feature a special performance by the Uncoolas. Dinner and dance package is $125 per person, with dance-only tickets available for $45. Hotel packages at the Delta Winnipeg are $360 per couple. Dress code is formal or business attire. Order tickets at 204-957-4545 or email email@example.com
Fun for singles
GET an early start filling up your social calendar by ringing in 2013 with other unpaired Winnipeggers at the Adventures for Successful Singles New Year's Eve Ritz & Glitz Gala. The dinner and dance, expected to draw up to 500 singles, takes place at the Viscount Gort Hotel (1670 Portage Ave.) with cocktails at 6 p.m., gourmet buffet dinner at 7 p.m. and dancing from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $70 each and include dinner, hats, noisemakers and glow-in-the-dark jewelry. Order by calling 204-775-3484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
LAUGH off 2012 at Rumour's Restaurant and Comedy Club (190-2025 Corydon Ave.) where American actor and standup funnyman Steve White -- described as "Morgan Freeman, Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Jim Carrey, and Denzel Washington all rolled into one -- will be holding comedic court for two shows, 6 p.m. ($15) and 10 p.m., the New Year's Eve Gala Show ($25, includes party favours and champagne at midnight).
One more time
KENNY Shields & Streetheart, the Winnipeg hard rockers who rose to fame with their disco-tinged cover of the Rolling Stones' Under My Thumb, will lead their hometown into 2013 with a live show at Essence Night Club (2100 McPhillips St.). Doors open at 8 p.m. and the party continues until 3 a.m. Hors d'oeuvres will be served. Tickets are $40 each and available by calling 694-SHOW or email email@example.com
New Year's Eve for kids
THEY may make their midnight toast with a juice box at 8 p.m., but the little tykes deserve to finish the holidays on a high note as well. They can do that by dressing up in their best duds and heading over to the Children's Museum for Top Hats & Tiaras, a family friendly party complete with tasty snacks, entertainment, free gifts and a new year's countdown with balloon drop. The free event runs 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
FOR the first time ever, Winnipeggers can ring in the new year with dinner and dancing at the elegant downtown showpiece known as the Manitoba Hydro Gallery.
Revellers can celebrate with a four-course dinner from Rudy's Eat & Drink ($80 per ticket) followed by dancing, or just join the party ($35) from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. DJs Tyler Crichton and Messina and performers Stephanie Soul and Jeremy Koz will provide live entertainment. Tickets available at 375 Graham Ave. or by calling 204-421-9094.
Gamble on a good time
YOU can bet on a rockin' night of live entertainment, dinner and dancing at the city's two casinos.
That '70s/'80s Band and DJ Barry K will headline McPhillips Station Casino with a New Year's Eve Dance Party that gets underway at 8:30 p.m. Tickets (rush seating) are $30 /$25 for club card members at Ticketmaster.
Meanwhile, party band Pop the Trunk will take over the Upperdeck Sports Bar at 7 p.m. for the New Year's Eve Social. Tickets are $35 and $30 and include a hot buffet at 9 p.m.
Across town at Club Regent, the Danny Kramer Event Band will lead the festivities at the Jaguars New Year's Eve Dinner & Dance, featuring a posh, four-course menu. Doors open at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.. Tickets are $89.99/$74.99. Call 661-9070 to reserve.
Family and fireworks at The Forks
AS usual, Winnipeg's perennial meeting place at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers is the hot spot for both indoor and outdoor (free) activities, all day long and for all ages. Skate on 1.2 km of trails (rentals available), shoosh down the toboggan run and show off your moves at Snowboard Fun Park. Kids can create and decorate their own New Year's hat in the south aisle of The Forks Market from 5 to 8 p.m. Horse-drawn wagon rides will be offered from 5 to 9 p.m.
Manitoba musicians including The New Lightweights, From Giants, Jason Kirkness and Sheena will keep the main stage in The Forks Market rockin' from 6 to 9:30 p.m. DJs Hunnicutt and Co-op will host the outdoor dance-friendly Party in the Port at 9:30 p.m., to be followed at 10 p.m. by the big fireworks show courtesy of two-time world champions Archangel Fireworks.
Bunnies in the Wood: Veteran Winnipeg rockers Chocolate Bunnies from Hell, led by wild and woolly frontman PJ Burton, will play the Norwood Hotel (112 Marion St.). The party starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 3 a.m., so they're obviously a quintet of energizer bunnies.
The hottest spot north of Havana: The Copa (2100 Main St.) is holding a New Year's Eve bash for the 25-plus crowd, featuring a buffet dinner at 7 p.m. Dress code is semi-formal, no jeans. Tickets (only 160 were printed) are $40 each and available by emailing CopaNYE@mymts.net
Get home safely
Winnipeg Transit offers free bus rides from 7 p.m. until the end of service -- around 1:45 a.m. -- on Dec. 31. For schedules and routes, visit winnipegtransit.com or call 311
Another option is to call Operation Red Nose at 204-947-NOSE (6673) and a volunteer team will pick you up and drive you to your destination in your own vehicle. The service is free, although donations are welcome.