Start the New Year with a splash at a Polar Bear Plunge on Thursday. There are two happening in the area.
Go knee high, waist deep or take the full plunge at the Metro Parks Tacoma Polar Bear Plunge at Point Defiance Marina, 5912 N. Waterfront Drive in Point Defiance Park. The 11:30 a.m. Cub Plunge is for kids younger than 10 years old. The Adult and Family Plunge is at noon. Warm up with free hot drinks and get a $3 off coupon to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. There is no cost to participate.
Head out to Long Lake Park, 2790 Carpenter Road SE, Lacey, for its annual Polar Bear Plunge. Campfires, music and hot drinks are available starting at noon, then prepare to take the plunge at 1 p.m.. All ages are welcome to join in the fun. For more information call 360-491-0857.
Friday (Dec. 26)
Bluegrass lovers should make plans to head to Shelton for the Annual Midwinter Bluegrass Festival. Four regional bands will be performing; Runaway Train, North Country, Farmstrong and the Scud Runners. The music begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Shelton High School Performing Arts Center, 3737 Shelton Springs Road. Admission is $10 and proceeds benefit the Bluegrass from the Forest music festival. For more information call 360-898-4581 or go online to bluegrassfromtheforest.com.
Bubbles and ballads
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with singer Chris Anderson. Known for smooth jazz and crooner songs, Anderson will entertain for the celebration. The evening, hosted by Pacific Grill, includes a buffet, champagne toast and party favors with tickets starting at $59. It’s taking place at the Courtyard Marriott, 1515 Commerce St., Tacoma. Get your tickets for the 21-and-over event at Brown Paper Tickets. For more information go to pacificgrilltacoma.com/
NYE with the Vagabonds
It’s a full-blown party at the New Year’s Eve Revelry at the Center in Olympia. The gala includes on-stage music by Vagabond Opera, a silent auction, artwork, photo booth, refreshments and champagne toast. Come dressed in your favorite cabaret-vaudeville outfit and enjoy the swanky 21-and-over evening at the Washington Center for Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia. Tickets are $100 and available online at washingtoncenter.org.
Friday—Sunday (Dec. 26-28)
Now that the gifts have been opened, take a break from the holiday frenzy and explore Winter Wildland at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, 11610 Trek Drive E., in Eatonville this weekend. Learn how animals acclimate to the winter climate and watch them partake in winter-themed enrichments. You can take in a narrated tour of the park as well. It all starts Friday (Dec. 26) and continues through Sunday. Hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. all days. Activities are included in admission: $19.75 adults, $18.25 seniors, $12.25 youth, $9.25 tots, and free for 2 and younger. Go to nwtrek.org for the details.
Friday (Dec. 26)
Not watered down
Originally college singers, the a cappella group Straight No Chaser formed in 1996 at Indiana University and has since grown to producing four albums and performing across the country. See them in a 7:30 p.m. performance Friday at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle. Tickets are $25.75-$55.75 and are available by phone or online; 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org.
Laughs and liabilities
Ring in the New Year with laughs when Mike Birbiglia will perform at The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle. The award-winning comedian, actor and filmmaker takes the stage in his new show about jokes and how they can get you in trouble. He will appear in an 8 p.m. show Wednesday with tickets from $32.50-$52.50. Get yours by phone or online; 877-784-4849, stgpresents.org.