Whether it’s champagne corks popping, fireworks exploding or midnight smooching, there are plenty of sparks to ignite your 2009. Xpress offers this roundup of festive events, ranging from the frenetic to the sublime. Your mission: Dig out your best noisemaker and silly hat and get ready to herald in the New Year. All events listed are held Wednesday, Dec. 31. For additional New Year’s happenings, see Clubland and Community Calendar.
• Local kirtan leaders Sangita Devi with trance-music collective Arundas hold a New Year’s Eve Festival of Light Celebration. The event features music, chanting, sacred ceremony and ritual theater. Attendees are asked to bring an item to be placed on the world peace altar during a special puja ceremony. Come “dressed to express the light within you, bring an open heart, a clear intention and your dancing shoes.” Held at the Essence Center in Weaverville (658-8198 or www.theessencecenter.com). Childcare is available.
7 p.m. $15 advance, $20 doors. Info: 253-6985.
• Contra dance into the New Year at the Old Farmer’s Ball’s Harlequin Masquerade. Suggested attire is black, white and red, accessorized with a mask (masks will be available at the door for those who don’t have their own). Fiddlewitch plays and Anne Marie Walter calls the dances. Bring a snack to share during midnight refreshments. Held at the Fairview Community Center (1355 Charlotte Highway, Fairview).
8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. $10 advance, $15 doors. Info: http://asheville-nc-cabins.com/ofb-new-years-dance.html
• The Champagne Ball, an “elegant, organic event, accented with decadent floral and candlelight,” benefits Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance. Enjoy music, a pas de deux by Terpsicorps, cirque-style performances by Asheville Aerial Arts and a raffle for a gold and diamond pendant from Roberto Coin’s “Champagne” jewelry collection along with champagne, themed cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Held at Shay Brown Events (21 Wall St., Asheville).
8 p.m.-1 a.m. $125 per person; tickets available at Diana Wortham. Info: www.dwtheatre.com or 257-4530.
• Sultry mountain folk band The Barrel House Mamas joins bluegrass outfit Dehlia Low to ring in the New Year at the newly opened White Horse in Black Mountain. Asheville’s Barrel House Mamas are a saucy, girl-powered quartet formed by former Warren Wilson College students and on a mission, it seems, to blend traditional sounds with party-perfect dresses. Sharing the stage, Dehlia Low also can claim some of the best local female talent (along with the group’s standout male players). Having just celebrated its first birthday, the band is gearing up for an even more successful second year.
8 p.m. $25. Info: www.whitehorseblackmountain.com
• The Mountain Music Family Circus returns to The Grey Eagle, rallying the Asheville-based musical allies of Virginia picker Larry Keel. Keel, who heads up his own band, Natural Bridge, promises that audiences will have “their hearts and brains happily steamed in a boiling cauldron of blazing instrumentation and brand new original sounds.” The show also features Acoustic Syndicate’s Steve McMurry, ukulele-fueled folk duo Mad Tea Party and Corn Tornado front man David Via. The “nonstop extravaganza” serves up not only no-holds-barred entertainment, but a Good Tidings Food Drive to benefit Manna FoodBank. Attendees are asked to bring two canned food items to donate.
8 p.m. $30. Info: www.thegreyeagle.com.
• Perennial jam-rock group Donna the Buffalo headlines New Year’s at The Orange Peel (the long-touring band also plays the same venue on Tuesday, Dec. 30). Formed in the early ‘90s (before world music was a “file under” category), Donna the Buffalo mixed zydeco, reggae, country and folk into the band’s festival-ready rock. Though the group calls Trumansburg, N.Y., home, it claims an Asheville connection: Local bassist Bill Reynolds logged plenty of miles with the quintet before being replaced in 2007 by fellow Asheville resident Jay Sanders. While the Orange Peel dates aren’t a homecoming as such for the band, its many previous Asheville stops must make this seem like old stomping grounds.
9 p.m. $30 advance, $35 doors. Info: www.theorangepeel.net
• Absurdist folk-rock collective Sirius.B hosts a New Year’s Eve bash with Bootstraps Burlesque at The Rocket Club. The night of gypsy-rock mayhem and scantily clad dancers also includes a champagne toast at midnight “and other random fun things.” Sirius.B has much to celebrate this season—along with a growing fan base and a move from jumping-off point Bobo Gallery to larger stages, the band also has a well-received debut album, Dazzling Urbanites, under its belt.
9 p.m. $16 advance, $20 doors. Info: www.siriusbmusic.com.
• Swing in the New Year at the final night of the Southeast Lindy Hop Championships. Sign up for the entire workshop (Friday, Dec 26, through Thursday, Jan. 1) at www.lindyfocus.com or just attend the end-of-year swing dance party. No partner or dance experience is necessary; lessons are given from 8 to 9 p.m. prior to the New Year’s Eve dance. The Firecracker Jazz Band provides the music. A Lindy hop (the precursor to swing dance) show—for inspiration—and midnight toast are included in the ticket price. Held at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville.
9 p.m. $40 advance (before Wednesday, Dec. 24) $50 doors ($90 couples). Info: www.swingasheville.com/newyear.
• What’s New Year’s Eve without fireworks? Downtown Asheville isn’t offering the ubiquitous light show this year, so head down the road to Cherokee to get your fix. Held at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds, 498 Tsali Blvd., Cherokee.
10:45 p.m. Info: 497-8122.