By BARRY GOODRICH
Who needs Times Square when you have Drew Carey?
Cleveland’s first New Year’s Eve celebration on Public Square will be headlined by the hometown boy who made it big in Hollywood. Carey will lead the countdown to midnight on Dec. 31 for Cleveland Rocks New Year’s Eve 2013 – Electric Ice, presented by Ohio Homecoming. The event, free and open to the public, gets underway at 6 p.m. on Public Square and will feature headline band Krewella as well as fireworks, food trucks, a beer garden and ice sculpting show. The event is expected to bring upwards of 20,000 people downtown.
If you want something a little more intimate (and warmer), there are several options for New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout Northeast Ohio.
A longstanding New Year’s Eve tradition continues at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven. Northeast Ohio’s hottest party includes live music from SHOUT!, a DJ and dancing all night and a top shelf open bar and midnight champagne toast. Appetizers, food stations, a sweet table and a 1 a.m. grand breakfast buffet top off the evening. Special room rates are available at the adjacent Staybridge Suites. For more information, call 440.449.0700.
The Cleveland POPS at Severance Hall will hold its 18th annual New Year’s Eve concert and dance with a balloon drop at midnight. This year’s concert features Will and Anthony Nunziata, who will perform their “Broadway Nights” revue of singing and comedy. After the concert, dancing will be held until 1 a.m. at two Severance Hall locations. Special room rates are available from the Courtyard Marriott University Circle and the InterContinental Suites Hotel. For reservations, call 216.231.1111.
The Hard Rock Café in Tower City will host a New Year’s Eve Rockin’ Bash beginning at 9 p.m. The highlight of the night will be a live performance by Hey Monea, a group that opened for Bruce Springsteen in London last year. A hearty appetizer buffet, bar and champagne toast at midnight are included with overnight accommodations provided by the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel. For more information, call 216.344.3859.
Now in its 18th year, First Night Akron is a family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration of the arts that brings the community together. Indoor entertainment and fun for all ages is offered throughout the downtown area from 6 p.m.-12 a.m. with the region’s best in music, dance, theater, visual and interactive arts. Fireworks will be held in front of Lock 3 and Metro shuttle buses will provide transportation. To learn more, call 330.374.7690.
Nighttown in Cleveland Heights welcomes vocalist and Broadway star Ann Hampton Callaway for two shows at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Callaway, whose songs have been featured on six of Barbra Streisand’s recent discs, will bring in the New Year live on the Nighttown stage with her distinctive show that blends jazz and traditional pop songs. For reservations, call 216.795.0550.
Dinner, hors d’oeuvres, dancing, party favors and a bottle of champagne are all included in a New Year’s Eve cruise on the Nautica Queen on the west bank of the Flats. Cleveland’s favorite cruise dining ship provides breathtaking views of the Cleveland skyline and the city’s historic bridges. For more information, call 216.696.8888.
Run Avril Run will supply the live music for the celebration at 700 Beta Banquet and Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn in Mayfield Village. The party runs from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. with hors’ d oeuvres, an open bar, spectacular food stations, a champagne toast and late night snacks. Overnight packages are available with deluxe accommodations and a full, cooked-to-order breakfast. For reservations, call 440.646.1777.