Show us your sweaters!

First Night Asheville coordinators have jumped on the Crescent City bandwagon.

The city’s biggest New Year’s Eve event has rolled around in a curious incarnation: This year’s celebration, co-dubbed “Mardi Party 2004,” takes its cue from New Orleans-style revelry.

OK, so it’s going to be held on a Wednesday (and one that’s nowhere near Fat Tuesday, which falls in February). Plus, there’s no booze, and it’s too cold out for anyone to reveal enough skin to earn a strand of colored beads.

But, hey … it’s still a party!

From rock climbing and mechanical-bull riding to live-music offerings — not to mention roving entertainment — there’s at least a little something for everyone.

Local Hawaiian act The Hula Cats Review, with The Spirit of Polynesia dancers, takes the Diana Wortham Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. This classic-luau-sound band, led by Mad Tea Party’s Ami Worthen on ukulele and Jason Krekel on guitar, will be followed by juggling-comedian duo The Fettuccini Brothers at 9 p.m.

First Night, is, as always, staunchly family-friendly, and will include lots of kid-oriented activities (try making your own video!). And, since the New Year’s Eve celebration is held at Pack Place this year, The Health Adventure will be open (kids and parents get in free with the cost of First Night admission).

And then there’s the countdown to midnight, and the traditional fireworks display.

Tickets cost $5/advance (pick them up at Food Lion, or at the Diana Wortham Theatre box office at Pack Place), or $7, with kids under 6 getting in for free. Activities run from 7 p.m.-midnight, in and outside of Pack Place.

For more information, call 259-5800 or 257-4530, or visit


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