Dec 30, 2010 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
The teetotalers are trying to revive a booze-free New Year’s with First Night down at Onondaga Lake Park this year. OK, you can cram the kiddies into the family van and dig the sounds of the Todd Hobin Band and pop singer Sean Kingston while gawking at Lights on the Lake for the umpteenth time.
Meanwhile, those of us who fully embrace Syracuse’s blue-collar brewery roots and barleycorn tastes will be high-fiving friends and bussing strange babes at any number of New Year’s nightspots.
They do things right at the world-famous Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and that place’ll be packed again Friday night as jubilant jam band Turnip Stampede rocks the house and the kitchen serves up free plates of red beans and rice at the stroke of midnight to be washed down with a flute of champagne.
Why red beans?
In a word, legumes are lucky.
For 150 years Southerners have celebrated the New Year by consuming black-eyed peas cooked along with hog jowls or ham. This dish, called “hoppin’ john,” is routinely served with a side of collard greens. Black-eyed peas and other legumes including red beans, black beans, lentils and garbanzo beans, are considered good luck in many cultures.
While the round black-eyed peas resemble silver coins, and red beans look like copper coins, the greens resemble paper money. Eating these foods on the year’s first day should assure that your pockets overflow with cash throughout the next 12 months.
The well-fed hog, and its meat, is also considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity. It’s a bonus that the greasy meat also makes the beans taste really good!
While sympathetic magic deems beans lucky, nutritionists say they’re truly good for you. Legumes are invariably high in protein and fiber and low in fat.
Back on the Bar-B-Que bandstand, Turnip Stampede will invoke musical magic to keep the dance floor grooving. One of CNY’s most creative bands, TS features rhythm guitarist John McConnell, bassist Max McKee, lead guitarist Adam Fisher and drummer Kinyatta King. Jazz keyboardist Dave Solazzo joins the combo Friday and will be along for the ride when the Stampede plays New Year’s Day night at the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Rochester.
The vegetably-monikered musicians boast a decidedly uplifting sound all their own, a sound produced by carefully combining funk, blues and psychedelic rock. Tunes include “In My Head,” “Sleep” and “Chameleon Man.”
Anyhow, the Dinosaur is only one of dozens of local bistros that will rock in the New Year on Friday. Pick your party and prepare to pucker up at the witching hour.
No alcohol and no dogs!
While we’re reveling in bubbly beverages and crooning a maudlin “Auld Lang Syne,” abstainers will admire balloons and colored lights starting at 5 p.m. at AmeriCU Credit Union’s First Night at Onondaga Lake Park presented by the Burdick Family of Dealerships at Driver’s Village.
First Nighters are invited to walk through Lights on the Lake, but don’t forget: NO alcohol and NO dogs! And apparently NO legumes…
Despite the frigid clime, live music will be performed outdoors all evening from the NAPA Main Stage, culminating with a concert by Sean Kingston after the 9:30 p.m. reunion of local rock icon the Todd Hobin Band.
Kingston is a 20-year-old pop phenom who grew up in Jamaica where his father, known as Jack Ruby, is a successful reggae producer. Kingston started out as a rapper in Miami, Fla., before adopting a more melodic approach with his 2007 hit “Beautiful Girls.” More recent singles include “Me Love,” “Face Drop” and “Fire Burning.”
At 11:59 p.m., former Syracuse University basketball star Gerry McNamara will push a button to activate the descent of an illuminated giant orange. At the stroke of midnight, the Wegmans fireworks display over Onondaga Lake will usher in 2011.
First Night tickets cost $5 in advance, $8 at the gate; ages 4 and younger free; 471-9597; firstnightcny.com.
‘Lift the toddy’
However you spend New Year’s Eve, you might impress family and friends by reciting these ageless words of wisdom by the late Westchester County poet Phyllis McGinley:
“Stir the eggnog, lift the toddy,
Happy New Year, everybody!”