NewYearsQuest: A New Year's 2012 Event Guide
New Year's Eve is that rare occasion on which it seems generally okay to kiss random strangers. That's right: Normal rules don't apply on the last night of the year, as people get all Rapunzel and really let their hair down. Inhibitions get dropped faster than a Kardashian spouse.
In fact, it seems a lot of things get dropped on New Year's Eve: not just the famous ball in Times Square, but a walleye in Ohio, a crab in Maryland, a possum in North Carolina and a glowing guitar in upstate New York, to name a few.
In some New Year's Eve locales, gravity is about the only law that gets obeyed. Traditionally -- at least in places where children are not typically running around and partying at midnight -- the holiday has a rambunctious, adult audience. That's why New Year's Eve is so popular in places where children are neither seen nor heard, such as, say, the casinos of Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Biloxi, Mississippi. Ditto a James Bond party in Boston, the Jackson Square Countdown in New Orleans and a roller-derby rink in North Dakota.
The revelry can be too much at times. Luckily, there's a growing number of family options out there too. These include Happy Noon Year celebrations (in Baltimore and San Antonio, among many others), sliding around the snow on the field at the Cleveland Indians' home stadium, or the dozens of nationwide, alcohol-free First Night festivities that were dreamed up in 1976 in Boston with family fun in mind.
MapQuest has compiled all of these events -- three per state and per major metro area -- into NewYearsQuest, our guide to the most interesting New Year's Eve activities in the world.
That's right -- it's not just in the USA that the event is celebrated. For a taste of how they're spending New Year's Eve on the rest of the planet, check out events in London, Paris, Montreal, Sydney, Toronto and Vancouver. For a glimpse at how other cultures celebrate the new year generally (at various times of the year), read Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings amusing global survey. And comedian Elayne Boosler recalls a lifetime's worth of working New Year's gigs, from her turf war with Dick Clark in Times Square to her near-death experience on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.
So use this guide to help plan your New Year's 2012 celebration. We ask only that you leave the possum dropping to the experts.
A map of the more unusual New Year's events -- including some the oddest things being dropped at midnight -- all over the world!
U.S. STATE GUIDES