Celebrate 2011: Venues offer ways to ring in new year

What is there to do on New Year’s Eve in Jefferson City? While there may not be the major parties to ring in the new year that there once were in the Capital City, there are still plenty of options for residents of Mid-Missouri to make their nights all the more festive.

One locale that used to host one of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties is the Truman Hotel. Truman Hotel director of sales Denise Kinard said that back when it used to be called the Ramada Inn, they used to host a three-theme party that allowed attendees to hop from party to party. However, she said the hotel has moved away from that in the last five years. “Attendance decreased pretty much since the year 2000,” Kinard said. “We used to have three ballrooms going at once, but it just became non-profitable in the end. “We tended to get a lot of the younger crowd that would come and they would stay the night, so sometimes it was a little rambunctious.”

Instead, the Truman Hotel will host a dinner at its restaurant, Bingham’s, with dinner specials and special guest Mike Michelson, who will play piano for the entire evening, capped off with a Champagne toast at midnight.

But the Truman Hotel is not the only place that will be mixing music and food for the evening. At Summit Lake Winery, patrons will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of food at the appetizer bar along with the musical styling of Man in the Ring at the New Year’s Eve Bash.

“Usually, we have just a couples dinner,” Summit Lake Winery manager Devon Spalding said. “But, we had a Halloween Party that turned out to be awesome, so we decided to do a New Year’s party as well.”

While both of those will likely be quieter events, there will still be larger festivities for those who are hunting for more of a party atmosphere. As they have for the past few years, the Capital City Players will host a party at Shikles Auditorium, the home of the Players.

Capital City Players President Rob Crouse said the evening, which will feature the house band, Five Turn Knot, is more of a laid-back atmosphere, and attendees are invited to bring their own drinks and snacks for the night. Crouse said that goes with the family feel that usually goes with the parties that the group hosts.

“It’s primarily people that are either involved in our theater or some of the patrons of our theater,” Crouse said. “We more or less look at this, since we spend so much time doing (things with the Capital City Players), it is like family. So, we like to have some things a couple of times a year. We also like to have a 4th of July barbecue.”

For those who are looking for even bigger events, Columbia will have its annual First Night celebration, complete with a midnight ball dropping in The District. But for Jefferson City, there isn’t anything in the city limits of that magnitude.

Sarah Stroesser-Alsager, communications director for the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she thinks the biggest reason for the lack of such a large festivity is the lack of a push for one.

“As with any event that takes place in Jefferson City, it takes somebody to have the initiative to get the ball rolling and create an event of that magnitude,” Stroesser-Alsager said. “I really think that it just lies in the fact that no organization has found that putting the time and effort forth on New Year’s Eve as something they want to pursue.”

Stroesser-Alsager said, however, that doesn’t mean there can’t be one in the future.

“It would be great if somebody decided they wanted to organize a New Year’s Eve party in Downtown Jefferson City or in Old Municburg or something like that,” she said.

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