Celebrating the New Year in Austin

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, December 24, 2011

Illustration by Eric Johnson

Austin plans to take good care of its residents this New Year’s Eve.

 Kicking off with the Eagles Club

Perhaps one of the first places to kick off the celebration will be the Eagles Club. The club, which opens at 10 a.m. on Dec. 31, has an array of activities planned for hard party-ers and laid-back patrons. Though the New Year’s bash has been happening at the Eagles’ for quite some time, this year features some new entertainment.

“Having a sit-down dinner and a band on New Year’s Eve is a new thing for us,” said Debbie Retterath, Eagles secretary.

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While that theme may not be brand new to Austin, it may be resurfacing from decades past. Former Eagles President and current club member Doug Bathke said the New Year’s scene has changed in that most people now have house parties. A dinner, with choices of prime rib, chicken, fish and more, and a classic rock band may bring back some of that old feel at the Eagles.

Denny Charnecki, from right, Ann Hemann, Virginia Milton and Amanda Corey will all be taking part in the New Year’s Big Country Show at the Paramount Theatre New Year’s Eve. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Kicking it with the Paramount

The Paramount Theatre will bring back some of that old feel itself.

For those who aren’t into partying well into the new year, the Paramount has a special feature show that will still allow music lovers to get home before the clock strikes midnight.

The New Year’s Big Country Music Show, featuring Grand Ole Opry star Millie Kittleson, local Austin’s Got Talent winners and The DC Drifters, of which Bathke performs with as well, will showcase all eras of country music with all ages and ranges of talent. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and $5 for students.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and even though it’s going to cover all the bases of country music, guests should be out the door by 9:30 p.m., said Ann Hemann, who will be on the piano.

“This will probably be the safest place in town to be,” she added.

DC Drifters lead and event coordinator Denny Charnecki said it’s perfect for anyone because those who want to get home early can do so, and those who want to head out to the clubs afterward can do that, too.

But for those who decide to head back out on the town, a temporary service aims to keep them safe, too.

 The red bus to safety

A red bus called “The Big Red Ride” will be available for sober rides from Austin bars on Friday and Saturday nights from now until the end of January. According to the “Big-Red Ride-Home” Facebook page, the bus will stop at each of Austin’s 13 bars on Friday and Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 1:15 a.m.

The bus, part of the Big Red Ride Home project out of Maple Grove, will allow riders to tell the driver where they want to go within the city limits when they leave the clubs.

The party isn’t over

And for those who don’t make it back to the Eagles Club, there’s another chance to celebrate on New Year’s day.

“We have always been open on New Year’s Day,” Retterath said.

Traditionally, the Eagles has been very busy on New Year’s Day. This year, a new game could continue that trend. A modified pull tab game allows participants to compete in a “horse race.”

The more pull tabs participants buy, the more chances their horses have to win the race — and prizes.

“It gets really loud and rambunctious,” Retterath added.

People don’t need to be members to celebrate at the Eagles Club, either. However, Retterath mentioned members get special discounts and offers.