Many areas in the county are getting ready for the end of the year in a big way.
New Year’s Eve is Monday, Dec. 31, and county visitors and residents plan to celebrate with many different activities that are fun for the entire family.
First up is a free champagne tasting at the Boathouse at Front Street Village. This event is from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29.
Then, celebrating festivities a day early is Atlantic Beach with a cozy bonfire.
The event, Smoke on the Water Annual Bonfire, is from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30 on the beach near the Circle.
There will be a bonfire made of all different kinds of wood. The fire will last for two hours, and there will be music from Robert McDuffy, who will provide live acoustic entertainment.
Folks are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blanket.
Morehead City will celebrate the evening Monday, Dec. 31 with Downtown Countdown.
Downtown Countdown will bring family fun to the waterfront on New Year’s Eve.
Join in the fun beginning at 5 p.m. for activities for all ages.
Those who participate in the event can enjoy watching the fire department drop the children’s crab pot and children’s activities from 5-6 p.m. at Big Rock Landing.
Local businesses and restaurants will provide activities and bands throughout the evening. Check individual websites for schedules.
Then, end the night at midnight with the big crab pot drop at 6th Street and a fireworks show for all downtown to enjoy, shot from Sugarloaf Island.
For more information, visit downtownmoreheadcity.com or call 252-808-0440.
Beaufort will also celebrate with many different activities during A Buccaneers’ New Years at John Newton Park.
The Big Roast is from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31 with free s’mores and hot chocolate. There will also be pirate activities for children in the park.
At 7 p.m., the Pirate Drop will take place as Cap’n Shack walks the plank. This event will also take place at John Newton Park.
Over at Fort Macon State Park, things will go off with a bang during the New Year’s Eve Cannon Blast.
Celebrate the end of the year and the upcoming new year as Fort Macon fires off its big guns.
This year there will be live entertainment starting at 6 p.m., and the cannons will go off at 7 p.m. to correspond with 12 UTC.
Those who plan to attend should bring a folding chair or a blanket, as well as a picnic meal, as this event is similar to the fort’s summer concert series.
The fun continues on the first of the year with runs and hikes.
Start off 2019 with a Resolution Run at 9 a.m. in Beaufort. This is a 5K and 1-mile run along Front Street. The cost is $20 a person. To register, visit runtheeast.com.
After the Resolution Run, enjoy a brunch at Backstreet Pub on Middle Lane from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Food will be offered by the Beaufort Grocery Co. food truck.
Participating in the N.C. State Parks First Day Hikes are officials with Hammocks Beach State Park and Fort Macon State Park.
At 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1 at Hammocks Beach State Park in Swansboro, join a park ranger on the first day of 2019 for a ferry ride and a hike across Bear Island.
Participants will get an opportunity to learn about the different habitats, from the marsh to the sea, while taking in the fresh air.
Registration is required by contacting the park office at 910-326-4881.
The hikes at Fort Macon State Park start at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1.
Fort Macon will offer two ranger-led hikes, both starting at the visitor center at 10 a.m. One will be a short nature hike on the Yarrow’s Loop Trail and inlet beach covering about ¾ of a mile. The second hike will be along the 3.2 mile Elliot Coues trail.
Folks can also visit the Cape Lookout National Seashore to climb the lighthouse.
Those who visit the national seashore can experience the view from the gallery of the iconic Cape Lookout Lighthouse while hearing nostalgic stories of the keepers, the structure itself and the natural barrier island ecosystem during winter.
Space is limited and reservations are required. This program will be able to accommodate a maximum of 40 participants.
The program begins on Harkers Island at 9 a.m. under the Harkers Island Visitor Center ferry dock canopy.
Those attending should arrive early to check in their party in with park rangers.
Shortly after the program commences, all participants will travel together on a single ferry that departs at 9:15 a.m., and returns to Harkers Island by 12:15 p.m.
Children joining the climb must be at least 44 inches tall and must climb the steps on their own. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants are reminded to dress accordingly for maritime weather conditions, and closed-toed shoes are required.
The cost of the program is $28, which includes the ferry fee, and is non-refundable and weather dependent.
Make reservations by calling Island Express Ferry Service at 252-728-7433, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., or anytime online at islandexpressferryservice.com.
For more information about climbing the lighthouse, go to go.nps.gov/lighthouse.