Party like it’s Noon Year’s Eve with Popcorn Hat Players

Photo courtesy of  Brianna Dow -- Gamut Theatre Group

Photo courtesy of Brianna Dow — Gamut Theatre Group

If you thought a kiss at midnight was fun, you haven’t tried high-fives at noon.

For the past 21 years, Popcorn Hat Players have hosted a New Year’s Eve Party for children and their families. The festivities start with a performance — this year, “Snow White and the Two Dwarfs” — and end with a countdown to a balloon drop at noon.

“It’s really just a great burst of energy at noon,” says Gamut Theatre Group resident theater manager Kathryn Miller, if you can imagine hundreds of kids with noisemakers in the Whitaker Center’s Sunoco Performance Theatre.

Miller doubles as an actress in the show, playing the dwarf Nerdy.

“We love coming up with different characters each time and really bringing the story to life for the kids,” Miller said.

Throughout the performance, which starts at 11 a.m., the actors ask for audience help and participation.

When the clock strikes noon, the Popcorn Hat Players walk down the aisles and high-five the kids, said Miller, who understands Mom and Dad should be able to enjoy the celebration, too.

“We try to make it as less stressful for the parents as possible. We know it’s not easy for parents to bring the kids on a holiday.”

After the show, Nerdy, Dorky, Snow White and the rest of the cast will pose for pictures and sign memorabilia.

And you can still be home before nap time.

If you go

What: Popcorn Hat Players present the 21st annual Countdown to Noon New Year’s Eve Party for Children — “Snow White and the Two Dwarfs”
Where: Sunoco Performance Theatre at the Whitaker Center, downtown Harrisburg
When: Dec. 31; check-in table opens at 10 a.m., doors open at 10:30, shows starts at 11
Cost: $10 per person through Dec. 1; after, $12 per person
For details: Call 717-238-4111 or visit

Other New Year’s Eve events

If you think the kids have the stamina to make it until midnight, plenty of celebrations abound in the area to ring in 2014. Here are a few of the many family-friendly options:

3 … 2 … 1! Lancaster: Binns Park, Lancaster. Live entertainment and fireworks, the lowering of the red rose at midnight. Entrance to Binns park is free; for details, call 717-291-4758.

Dillsburg’s New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop: Blood drive starts at 4:30 p.m. Food, entertainment, children’s games and face painting at 5. Magician Michael Thomas, 5:30. Bingo, 7:30. Lil’ Dill will drop for the first time at Citizens’ Hose Fire Company’s Community Hall, 109 S. Baltimore St., at 7 p.m. Mr. Pickle will drop at midnight on the Dillsburg Square. For details, visit

First Night Carlisle: Downtown Carlisle. This year’s theme is “First Night 2014: Lite up the Nite.” For details, call 800-381-1394 or visit

Harrisburg New Year’s Eve: Market Square, Harrisburg. Begins 9 p.m. Live musical entertainment, children’s activities, face painting, horse-drawn carriage rides and fireworks. Call 717-255-3120 for details.

Gettysburg New Year’s Eve: Lincoln Square, downtown Gettysburg. Entertainment, fireworks and a party in the square. For details, call 717-334-5006 or email

New Year’s Eve Bologna Drop: Ninth and Cumberland streets parking lot in downtown Lebanon. For details, call 717-273-7215 or visit

New Year’s Revolution: Continental Square, York. The White Rose will drop at midnight with a fireworks display. Special events for children begin at 6 p.m., including a countdown with hats, noisemakers. Visit

Red Lion New Year’s Eve Celebration: Free admission, starting at 7 p.m. Family friendly activities and live entertainment. For details, visit

Wrench-drop in Mechanicsburg: East end of Main Street between Market and Arch streets. Festivities begin 10:30 p.m.; the annual 8½-foot wrench drop will happen at midnight, with food, music throughout the night. For details, call 717-796-0811 or visit

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  1. PACMAN DROP at TIMELINE ARCADE downtown Hanover, PA

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