Northwest Arkansas rings in the New Year with art and hiking

event preview by Brittany Ransom

There are plenty of opportunities in Northwest Arkansas to usher in 2014 with a little partying and a little hiking.

• Crystal Bridges' NEW 365 Bash
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will celebrate the "planet's endless cycle of renewal" with its NEW 365 Bash on Dec. 31. The New Year's Eve party will get started at 8 p.m. and continue into 2014, wrapping up at 12:30 a.m.

The evening will include food, drink, dancing, and music by Leah & the Mojo Doctors and DJ Havok. A premier menu, prepared by Case Dighero, Crystal Bridges' Director of Culinary Services, will include a wide-array of dishes including Cubano Sliders, Reuben Sammies, and Lobster Rolls. A dessert and coffee bar will also be open all night long.

Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy a number of wine varieties, including California red and white wines, as well as Italian Prosecco, and a signature Winter Pear Cocktail. A cash bar, featuring premium cocktail selections, will also be open.

Cost is $68 for museum members and $85 for non-members. Guests can opt to combine their events with a special dinner and lodging package at 21c Museum Hotel for an additional cost. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling Guest Services at 657-2335.

• Last Night Fayetteville
Celebrate the new year at one of the region's most anticipated performing arts festivals, Last Night Fayetteville. The annual New Year's Eve event, held in Fayetteville Square, brings together music, art, and lots of family fun to help ring in the new year.

Festivities will get underway on Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. with a performance by Surf De Soleil on the Main Stage, as well as crafts and a student art show at the Kids' and Dance Stages. Activities will take place at several stages and buildings around the square, with something for family members of all ages.

This year's "Last Night" will feature a full line-up of entertainment, including performances by more than 100 music, comedy and theater acts. Artists will include The Flipoff Pirates, Messy Sparkles, Still on the Hill, Shawn James & the Shape Shifters, and several others. The comedy group Phunbags will bring their brand of humor, while groups such as the TerraNova Tribal Bellydancers and the Violetta Lotus Burlesque show perform unique routines.

Last Night's signature Puppet Parade will begin at 8 p.m., as visitors are given their chance to carry their own puppet around the square. Families can also enjoy special theatrical demonstrations by The Artist Laboratory's Theater group, browse local art, or play in Theaterville at the "Speak for Yourself" or "Fayetteville Word Wars" activities.

At 11:59 p.m., the famous "Hog Drop Countdown" will take place followed by the New Year's Fireworks finale in the Town Center Plaza.

Admission ranges from $5 to $15. A limited number of VIP passes are also available for $65. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.

• First Day Hike

Burn off some of those holiday pounds and head over to War Eagle Trail for a First Day Hike. Starting at the Dogwood Trailhead in Huntsville, hikers will climb with one of Withrow Springs State Park's assistant superintendent's up to the picturesque War Eagle Overlook and back.

The hike will begin at 10 a.m. on Jan. 1. The trail is considered fairly short and mildly strenuous. Participants are encouraged to wear hiking boots and to bring their binoculars, cameras, and other gear. For more information, call 479-559-2593.


• Great Gatsby Party
Kids looking for a little literary fun over their Christmas vacation can head over to the Rogers Public Library for a "Great Gatsby" Party on Jan. 2.

Teens ages 13-18 are invited to come dressed as their favorite Gatsby character for a special viewing of the movie. The party will begin at 5:30 p.m. and last until 8 p.m. in the Friends of the Rogers Public Library Community Room. Refreshments will also be served.

Admission to the party is free. To sign-up, call the library at 621-1152.

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