5+ events to celebrate New Year’s Eve weekend 

Happy New Years 2023

Whether staying home with family and friends, heading to bed early or going out to celebrate, any number of ways work to ring in the new year. But if you’re in that third category, here’s five local options for celebrating New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  

First Day Hikes 

Multiple organizations will host first day hikes on Sunday to start the year in the wide outdoors.  

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Rangers will lead walking tours at Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka (10-11:30 a.m.), Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville (1:30-2:30 p.m.) and Dudley Farm Historic State Park in Newberry (9:30-11 a.m.).  

Other state parks, including Paynes Prairie, will also host first day hikes. Check this list for full locations.  

If you want to get out Saturday, rangers will lead a hike at La Chua Trail in Gainesville from 10-11:30 a.m. for the first 25 people to show up.  

Organizers encourage visitors to bring water, comfortable shoes, bug spray and sunscreen as needed.  

The Alachua Audubon Society will also hold it’s The BIG Day trip on Sunday. Starting at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, the trip will visit other top birding sites around Gainesville throughout the day. Join just for the first leg or continue to secondary locations as you like.  

The event will last from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. so pack water and snacks if you plan to stick to the end.  

Chapter vice president Tim Hardin will lead the group and expects visitors to spot 100 plus different species. Don’t forget binoculars for this trip.  

Depot Park 

Depot Park will have everything needed for a New Year’s Eve celebration.  

Starting Saturday morning, the city of Gainesville will host its regular 5K at 7:30 a.m. The race is free and timed. For first time participants, sign up online to get your barcode.  

And this weekend’s run is a double header, with a second 5K on Sunday morning at the same time. The event starts at the East Overlook.  

At 5 p.m., Sparks in the Park starts with a family-friendly dance party on The Hill and choreographed fireworks over the pond at 6:30 p.m.  

The Cade Museum will also host its Spark Wonder 2023 event next door, complete with games, experiments, an alternate time zone countdown, glow party and photo booth. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $10 for youth 5-17 years old and free for those 4 years old and below.  

Attendees can also watch the Depot Park fireworks from the museum while enjoying snacks and drinks. 

Bo Diddley Plaza 

Following fireworks at Depot Park, the party will continue at the Downtown Countdown in Bo Diddley Plaza. From 9 p.m. to midnight the plaza will feature live music from the 24/7 Band and Jackquelyn Graham. 

High Springs BMX Race 

The High Springs BMX will host a New Year’s Day race on Sunday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Practice runs will last until 4 p.m. with an $8 registration cost.  

Find more details online.  

One Love Café Bash 

Located just off NW 39th Avenue, One Love Café will host a New Year’s Eve Bash from 5:30 p.m. to midnight with a full bar, food and live music.  

The Couch Messiahs will kick things off for the first three hours followed by Wild Blue Yonder leading up to midnight.  

Check out the information online.  

Additional Events 

Visit our events page to find more weekend options. Or add your own event to our calendar. You can also comment on New Year’s Eve celebrations below.  

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