New Year's Eve is a time not only for looking back at the year that is about to end, but looking forward to hopefully better and brighter days ahead.
When day turns to night, the only industry busier than restaurants, hotels and bars is babysitting. After all, Moms and Dads need someone to watch the little ones while they enjoy a long-overdue night out.
And the only thing more exciting than celebrating New Year's Eve is celebrating New Year's Eve when it falls on a Saturday night. The last time it happened was 2011, but thanks to a pair of leap years, this year's New Year's Eve is next Saturday night.
Because you're likely insanely busy wrapping up work, school and everything else that needs to be done before you (hopefully) take a well-deserved week off next week, we've put together this guide to concerts and New Year's Eve-related events.
The legendary Roomful of Blues will perform at the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley. They've earned five Grammy Award nominations and seven Blues Music Awards, while the DownBeat International Critics Poll has twice selected them as Best Blues Band. None other than Count Basie called them "the hottest blues band I've ever heard." Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets are $95, including dinner, the show, champagne toast, hats, noisemakers, tax and tip.
The Fools, who some folks have called New England's best party band, will perform at Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury.
There are other concerts taking place on New Year's Eve including Ellis Paul at Club Passim in Cambridge and Tower of Power at Infinity Hall in Hartford, Conn.
If you'd rather stay closer to Lowell, Cobblestones is throwing a New Year's Eve party featuring catering by Erin McMahon and Mark Caputo's Style. The restaurant is advertising an optional dinner (there's a special New Year's Eve menu), DJ and dancing, champagne, balloons, hors d'oeurvres and a midnight(ish) breakfast buffet.
Meanwhile, Bahama Breeze on Middlesex Road in Tyngsboro features an Island Junkanoo New Year's Bash. Attendees can partake of dishes off the menu or enjoy an exclusive four-course menu with choice of appetizer, salad, entrée and dessert from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $70. The four-course menu includes complimentary sparkling guava punch and a champagne toast. Guests can also enjoy games, live music, giveaways and other surprises throughout the night.
And at the Back Page in Lowell, there's a 9 p.m. New Year's Eve party with McKinley's Mood.
Families looking to celebrate New Year's Eve early with their younger children can head to Zoo Year's Eve at Stone Zoo in Stoneham. The 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. outdoor event includes a reindeer parade led by Stone Zoo reindeer, early entry to ZooLights and more festive fun. There's a reindeer ice sculpture inside the Zoo, thousands of twinkling lights and costumed characters.
Those looking for a laugh have no shortage of options on New Year's Eve, including Jimmy Tingle at The Cabot in downtown Beverly. His 8 p.m.
Veteran local stand-up comedian Paul D'Angelo will be performing at the Larcom Performing Arts Theatre in Beverly for an 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $35.
If you're up for a bit of a drive to get your laughs, Jay Leno will be performing at the Mohegan Sun Arena for an 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $39.
Over at the Grand Theater at Foxwoods, Mike Epps and Friends will headline a stand-up comedy show. Tickets for the 9 p.m. show are $65 and $45.