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Things to do on New Years Eve in Jacksonville

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For many, 2011 has flown by. Sometimes I have trouble believing we'll be celebrating the calendar turning to 2012 when the clock strikes midnight; however, it will happen, and there's no sense in sitting at home for it. There are several New Years Eve events and parties in Jacksonville, including a couple of family friendly ones.

1. Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's Toast to the New Year

Coast into 2012 with the masterful sounds of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. JSO is hosting a special New Years Eve concert conducted by Fabio Mechetti, and featuring special vocal performances by Kimberly Beasley and Matt Morgan. Things get started at 8:30 and will last early into New Years Day. Following the performance, the venue features hors d'oeuvres and drinks, including a special champagne toast, and dancing with music provided by the North Florida Jazz Quintet. Tickets range from $46 to $121.

2. New Years Eve Night Ice Skating

Join friends and family at the Jacksonville Ice Sportsplex for its annual New Years Eve ice skating event. The special price of $10 includes the cost of skates. The rink will be open from 7 to 9:30 p.m., leaving plenty of time for other New Years Eve activities later on.

3. Countdown to New Year's Eve at the Jacksonville Zoo

Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is open only for a few hours on New Years Eve, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The time it is open, however, is devoted to the celebration, featuring special entertainment, games and prizes, as well as an "Apple Juice Toast." The event is primarily aimed toward children, who will be admitted for 50 percent off (ages 3 to 12).

4. New Years Celebration at the Jacksonville Landing

There are several New Years Eve events happening at the Jacksonville Landing, including the annual city fireworks show when the clock strikes midnight. Live music will be provided by Coquina during the afternoon (12 to 4 p.m.), followed by other not yet announced events in the evening. The nightly Christmas Tree light show will continue on as well.

5. New Year’s Eve Comedy Zone Blast Off Party

A stand-up comedy show by Mutzie (featured on Comedy Central, Showtime and BET) gets things started at 9 p.m. It will be followed by the Comedy Zone's annual New Years Eve party, featuring dancing, food and party favors. A champagne toast will also be held to celebrate the new year. The party goes on until 1 a.m.; tickets are available on the Comedy Zone's website at $35 per person.

6. Diamonds, Denim and Decades New Year's Eve Party

The theme is "Diamonds, Denim and Decades," and the party should be one of the best in the area. Tickets are $75 and up, depending on the package, and the event is held at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort in St. Augustine. Starting at 7:30, the party is held in the ballroom and features music by the seven-piece Murray Goff Connection band. Reservations and pre=payments are required; overnight packages are also available.

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