Prohibition-era New Year’s Eve with fireworks in Kingston

(M Photography)

(M Photography)

This will be the third iteration of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Uptown Kingston that looks forward by looking back – way back, as it happens: nearly a century ago to the time of Prohibition, when the manufacturing, sale, transportation, storing or imbibing of alcohol all went underground for a decade or so. This forbidden-pleasure scenario will be acted out this year with the theme of “Old-Fashioned Cirkus” (sic).

The New Year’s Eve celebration will happen all through Uptown Kingston beginning at 8 p.m. and going on until 3 a.m. the next morning. Attendees are encouraged to dress appropriately, which in this case means: Bring on the stripes, polka dots and top hats. The stage and ball drop are promised to be even bigger than last year, and there will be fireworks at midnight (thanks to Basch & Keegan, LLP). Admission to the ball drop is free.

Special music and entertainment events are all for ages 21 and over. Tickets for the Magic Hat Freak Show & Cirkus at BSP Kingston, at 323 Wall Street, cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door. The massive back-room theater will open its doors at 8 p.m. offering an evening of freak shows, stage performers (members of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Miss 360, Miss Fly Hips), burlesque (W.té.effé Productions), live music from Bella’s Bartok and the Heart Strings Hot Club, live klezmer music and jazz and an electro-swing dance party with deejay Dr. Suds after midnight.


A pre-midnight VIP gold-bracelet event will be held inside of the San Severia Tent (circa 1839 from Belgium, courtesy of Spiegeltent Productions), with a private bar, coat check and hors d’oeuvres from Duo Bistro and seated booths.

The Old-Fashioned Cirkus and Freak Show at Boitson’s Restaurant and the Keegan Ales Pop-up Beer Hall at 43 North Front Street next to Tech Smiths will feature full-tilt rockabilly from Lara Hope & the Arktones, freak-show stunts from the Unholy Sideshow, Peter Demuth Photography’s old-fashioned photobooth and a late-night deejay. The cost is $5 suggested at the door.

Over at the Stockade Tavern at 313 Fair Street, they’ll be serving up their Prohibition-era cocktails all night with no cover charge. They’ll feature early-evening jazz at 7 p.m. and klezmer band Caprice Rouge into the evening, with a late-night dance party with DJ Ali. The evening culminates with an old fashion ball-drop at the corner of Wall and North Front Streets at midnight.

Reservations are recommended for the aforementioned places, but there are many other places to eat or drink before the ball drop, too. Café East will serve its full menu, and light bites will be had from Santa Fe on Main. Coffee and snacks are available at Outdated: An Antique Café, the Séraphine Bakery and the Kingston Candy Bar. A late-night “brunck” (a drunk brunch) will be held at Duo Bistro at 50 John Street from midnight to 3 a.m.

Parking can be had on the street and in free municipal lots around the neighborhood. The city will also allow free parking at the Cioni Building lot behind BSP until 3 a.m. A free shuttle will run, provided by the City of Kingston, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and later if people are out in force using it. A map of pickup and dropoff locations (every 25 minutes) can be found online, along with more details, at