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There are plenty of ways to ring in '08

December 27, 2007|By MARIE GILBERT

When Lucy Rennicke was a little girl growing up in the New York suburbs, New Year's Eve was a big deal.

Her parents would get dressed up and head to Manhattan for dinner and dancing while she and her brother partied at home with their grandparents.

Today, at the age of 60, Rennicke isn't planning on joining the crowd in Times Square to watch the ball drop.

But she won't be staying home either.

She and several friends will be cruising Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where they'll enjoy a buffet, live music and a fireworks show.

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Rennicke is one of those people who dispels the myth that most senior citizens are fast asleep on New Year's Eve, long before the clock strikes midnight.

In reality, there are plenty of options for the more mature crowd who might be in a celebratory mood.

Locally, there is something for everyone.

At Duffy's on Potomac, revelers can take part in the second annual Downtown Live New Year's Eve Bash, a black-tie optional evening that will include dinner, live music and a champagne toast.

"Last year, we had 350 people from all age groups," said Randy Jones, front room manager at Duffy's. "We had the young and the young at heart."

Jones said there is much about the evening that appeals to the more mature crowd - from a jazz quartet that will be among the musical entertainers to the multiple levels of the building, which allow people to roam about.

The more formal dress attire also appeals to the older partier, he said, and gives people an excuse to get dressed up.

"This is definitely not a T-shirt and jeans kind of night," Jones said.

For many members of Fountain Head Country Club, spending New Year's Eve at the club has become a tradition.

"We have members in their golden years who have been coming here year after year to celebrate with friends," said Mark Litrenta, general manager. "They wouldn't consider being anywhere else."

Younger people often enjoy celebrating New Year's Eve differently each year, he said. One year they might like to go out of town. The next they might go to a party at a friend's home.

"But the older person usually likes tradition," he said.

Over the past several years, area churches have begun offering New Year's Eve programs, ranging from late-night dinners to worship services.

This year, Hancock Assembly of God will open its doors for a church service from 9:30 p.m. to midnight. The night will include special testimonials and communion.

While this is the Rev. Donald Preston's first year at the Hancock church, he said he was expecting an older crowd to be in attendance.

"The evening is for all age groups," he said. "But I've always found that the older members take advantage of such offerings because the younger members have children who need to be in bed."

An alternative New Year's Eve celebration will also be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Hagerstown.

The Rev. Valerie Wills said plans have been made for an outdoor opening ritual, an indoor labyrinth, memorial candles, conversation and music, plus food and beverage.

"We've been doing this for the past three or four years," she said. "It's a more contemplative evening."

In the past, Wills said, the event has drawn people from all age groups, but particularly adults.

"This is not a midnight celebration," she said.

"We start at 6 p.m. and people can leave whenever they're ready. It's perfect for those who want to be home before midnight."

Other options for marking the new year include a night at the movies, bowling and for those who want to avoid long lines and rowdy celebrants, at-home get-togethers.

Many senior citizens also mark this time of the year with travel. According to the Travel Industry Association, many senior citizens make New Year's resolutions to do more traveling - to see new places and have new experiences.

Several cruise lines offer New Year's Eve packages which, the Travel Industry Association said, sell out further in advance than other cruises.

The most popular destinations include the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe.

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