Richmond’s Celebration Calendar: New Year’s Weekend 2011-12

A Christmas tree transformed for New Year’s Celebrations!

It’s the last weekend of 2011 and there are lots of fun activities and events for kids and adults. From special theater productions to New Year’s Eve celebrations, there are plenty of reasons to get out and about. And there are lots of places open on New Year’s Day 2012 too.

See the events by date below and find those that fit your schedule best.

Happy New Year from!

The Last Weekend of 2011

Purchase 1/2 Price Tickets at Barksdale and Theatre IV for “A Year with Frog and Toad”! Special discount for readers only. Click here for details and purchase tickets for a limited time at 1/2 price for the December 30 show at 7:00 p.m.

RVA on Ice.  Holiday music. Friday, 4pm – 10 pm;  Saturday 10 am – 10 pm;  Sunday 10 am – 6 pm. Located between 6th and 7th streets. Organizers have selected provide skaters with an opportunity to enjoy a great movie on a 25 square foot movie screen as they circle the rink on New Year’s Eve.  The movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”  begins at 7:00 PM on Saturday, December 31.  In addition to the holiday movie, FREE arts and crafts sessions are offered by Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities’ Office of Cultural Arts Programs on Saturday Noon – 2 p. m.  Participants are also invited to purchase various snacks and beverages including coffee, hot chocolate and ingredients to make s’mores while warming up by the bon fire.

My Fair Lady — Barksdale Theatre at Empire. (See link for performance schedule December 27-January 1). The historic Empire Theatre opened on Christmas Day, 1911. Help us celebrate the Empire’s 100th Birthday with the fun, tuneful and exceedingly elegant My Fair Lady, which happens to take place … in 1911! Stacey Cabaj (Maria in The Sound of Music), Joe Inscoe, Jason Marks and Suzanne Pollard star in one of Broadway’s most enjoyable triumphs. Suggested for ages 10+.

Genworth Foundation Holiday Village at Children’s Museum of Richmond.

Dominion Gardenfest of Lights at Lewis Ginter through January.  GARDENFEST MEMBER NIGHTS: Jan. 9 with Free admission for Garden Members! Open New Yea’rs Day too.

The Science Museum Fruitcake Science is Monday, December 26-Friday, December 30, 9:30 am-5 pm: ‘Tis the season for fruitcake and what better time to test its ability to conduct electricity, its reaction to gravity, is ability to float or what happens to it when you freeze it? Join us for this entertaining and inspiring time of discovery! Included with Museum admission or free for members.

Maymont Mansion Holiday Tours Tuesdays – Sundays, through January 8 from 12 noon til 5:00 p.m. Celebrate the season in Victorian beauty and family fun. Maymont House Museum. Open New Year’s Day.

Tacky Light Tour — Houses must have a minimum of 40,000 lights to be on the tacky tour and it’s FREE. Enjoy hilarious and unbelievable fun. Visit the website for tour locations since some have changed from previous years. Enjoy tacky lights all throughout December.


December 30
Arena Racing USA – The Snap On tools 200 – At 7:30 p.m. – Fast cars, bumping, rubbing, flipping and wrecking! Arena Racing USA, the world’s only indoor stock car racing league – and born and bred in Richmond – is safe and affordable family fun. 2 1/2 hours of pure speed and adrenaline. Come check out the hottest new action sport in town.
Michael’s Free Crafts – Friday, December 30, 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Gert’s Construction Paper Crafting Event. Free Make-It Take-It. See website for details.

December 31

Radio Disney New Year’s Eve at The Science Museum of Virginia – Invites kids and families to ring in the New Year at the Science Museum of Virginia on December 31. This celebration gives kids the opportunity to have all the fun of New Year’s Eve before their bedtime featuring songs from Radio Disney’s “Top 50 Countdown of 2011,” interactive entertainment and prizes. Additional activities include Anthem Get Active Get Fit Dance Party and red carpet premiere of the new IMAX film “Born to Be Wild.”

Born to be Wild is an inspiring story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. Narrated by Academy-Award® Winner Morgan Freeman, this film documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them—saving endangered species one life at a time. Show times vary-visit website for details.

All three Richmond Romp n’ Roll locations (West End, Midlothian, and Mechanicsville) will be open on New Year’s Eve from 9 a.m. to noon.  There will be a countdown to noon and an apple juice toast. Currently enrolled children are free, non-enrolled members are $5 each, and non-members are $7.  Adults are free but must wear socks.

Bark in the New Year 3K  run from West End’s American Family Fitness to Wawa and back! Join the fun at American Family West End location.

 Some Like It Hot New Year’s Eve Gala: Don’t want to drive far this New Year’s Eve? Looking for a great party with folks you know? Want to support a worthy cause?   Then don’t miss the first annual New Year’s Eve Gala at the Ashland Firehouse Theater!  Spaces are limited, so order your tickets today. 8:00 p.m. at Ashland Firehouse Theatre.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa with Kings of Swing.

It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play. Swift Creek Mill Theatre, Jefferson Davis Highway, Colonial Heights. This holiday classic comes to life as a live 1940’s radio broadcast. Check website for dates and times. Reservations required.

New Year’s Eve in Carytown at 11:00 p.m. They will be raising the ball at The Byrd Theatre on New Year’s Eve and Carytown hopes you’ll be there. The giant, illuminated ball will rise on top of the “Richmond’s Premiere Movie Palace” at midnight. The streets will not be blocked off.

New Year’s Eve Family Frolic at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens from 2 pm – 5 pm.

New Year’s Eve at Children’s Museum of Richmond from 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for kids of all ages! Both locations.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 10 am – 5 pm – Enjoy the museum on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

RVA on Ice Downtown’s skating rink will be open New Year’s Eve from noon until 10 p.m. Bring the kids and hit the ice! Hot chocolate, music and more. $5 general; $4 for seniors 60 and older and for military personnel; free for children age 10 and younger who are accompanied by a paid guardian. Additional skate rental fees.

VMFA Is Open. Take the kids or the whole family to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. They’ll be open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Check out the Mummy Exhibit and the 3D movie, the new Elvis exhibit, or just explore the museum’s fantastic galleries. Kids especially love the Mocha Dick exhibit. Free. (The Elvis exhibit is ticketed).

Drop the Ball @ Art Works at 8:00 p.m. – A News Years Eve Party for the Arts at Art Works, Richmond, VA. Come dressed-to-impress and Drop the Ball at Art Works New Years Eve party where you can rock to live music and party like it’s 1999 (or 2012)!

Capital City Kwanzaa Festival – December 31 from 1 pm – 9 pm; The 2011 Capital City Kwanzaa Festival presents a carefully planned series of events that please the palette of attendees and capture the spirit and the significance of the Kwanzaa holiday. There will be children’s events, workshops and more in this nationally recognized, regionally attended observance of the Kwanzaa (quahn-zah) holiday. The Capital City Kwanzaa Festival is one of the largest Kwanzaa celebrations on the east coast.

January 1, 2012


Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 10 am – 5 pm – Enjoy the Museum on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

Kids love Monkey Joe’s. Jumping castles, inflatables and gyms. Open New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Get their wiggles out so you can celebrate the New Year later on in the night.

Polar Plunge at Pony Pasture – The 5th Annual Polar Plunge into the James River will take place on Sunday, New Year’s Day. Bring on the hypothermia!

First Day Hikes at Pocohantas State Park – 12 noon – 2 pm; As part of a nationwide program to encourage healthy lifestyles, Virginia State Parks are sponsoring family-friendly First Day Hikes on January 1, 2012. All parks are offering either a staff or volunteer led hike or a self-guided hike. To participate in Pocahontas State Park’s First Day Hike, meet Chief Ranger Rick Perry at the boat ramp at noon to hike the Forest Exploration Trail. Hikers will learn about the legend of Split Rock and visit the burial site of Fannie Julia Gill (not recommended for children under 12). The hike is free, but the standard $5 park parking fee applies.

Science Museum of Virginia – Visit for a fun filled day to kick off the new year! 11:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

Local Frostings cupcake shop to be on Cupcake Wars on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. on Food Network. Root for Frostings!

Children’s Museum of Richmond is closed on New Year’s Day but reopens on Monday, January 2, 2012 for Member Monday.

Dominion GardenFest Of Lights is open New Years Day from 5 pm – 10 pm. If you haven’t seen the lights at GardenFest, now is the time. Stroll through Peppermint Lane, check out the Asian Valley dragon, walk-through the peacock arch, check out the 250-foot tunnel of lights and more. The holiday exhibit will close Monday, Jan. 9.  $11 adults; $7 children ages 3 – 12; children under age 3 free; Garden Members $5.

January 6th, 2012

2011 Miller & Rhoads Charity Christmas contest (7:00 p.m.) winner announced and prizes awarded. Charity Tree Auction is at 9:00 p.m. sponsored the Family Lifeline tree!