Celebrate the new year in style in Penticton and the South Okanagan

Lots of events to soak in for New Year's Eve in Penticton and the South Okanagan.

Staffers Maxine Chapman (left) and Crysti Evans raise a glass in the spirit of the New Year at the Hooded Merganser in preparation for this Monday’s 2013 welcoming celebrations at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.  Live music

Staffers Maxine Chapman (left) and Crysti Evans raise a glass in the spirit of the New Year at the Hooded Merganser in preparation for this Monday’s 2013 welcoming celebrations at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. Live music

Putting it simply, Papa Wheely loves to rock. And, the well-known cover band from the Okanagan hopes Penticton does too on New Year’s Eve when the trio return to their roots at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

Kim Kayzer (guitar/vocals), Nori Wentworth (bass/vocals) and Matt Rands (drums/vocals) originally came together in 2006 as a house band at the Barking Parrot. Since then they have gone through  few line up changes and now are back to the original trio who have made themselves quite known around the Okanagan for their crowd rocking sets.

“We have been playing together long enough that we known hundreds of songs. I think we more or less will stick with the classics and a bit of country, New Year’s puts everyone in the right mood and we learned quickly with this band, you play what the crowd wants to hear. We are a little more at home in a bar or club than a ballroom but we will be playing stuff ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Muse, Killers and just depending on what gets the crowd going,” said Rands, who is from Penticton and owns Skaha Sound.

Having been a cover band for so long, Rands said the number one question they get asked is if they write any of their own hits. While some of the members do create their own music on the side, Rands said that is not what Papa Wheely is about. The band was formed to get people on the dance floor with the songs they already love. Tunes like Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and Everybody Have Fun Tonight by Wang Chung have choruses that almost everyone can sing too.

“There just doesn’t seem to be much new music that sticks these days. For quite awhile we were learning new songs every week and a month later you play them and no one would care to hear them. You go back and learn a Neil Diamond song, for instance, and everyone loves it,” said Rands.

The Papa Wheely drummer said part of that can be a sign of the times with many people picking and choosing what songs they load onto their iPods and MP3 players instead of purchasing the whole album. Then those songs disappear in all the rest on the playlist.

Having said that, you still might hear a little of the viral hit Gagnam Style that generated over one billion views on YouTube.

“We do a couple of dance tunes. We throw parts of Gangnam Style into another dance song we do,” said Rands. “If we are going to take the effort to learn a new song, we want it to be one we can get some mileage out of.”

Tickets to the show are $50 and available at the front desk of the Lakeside. Those who come down to celebrate the night will be given party favours and be treated to champagne and fireworks and midnight and a dinner buffet.

The Penticton Lakeside Resort will be a hub of New Years Eve celebrations in Penticton with three other events also happening.

“It’s nice to have all these events in one place, so if you do go to the ballroom you can always go up to the casino or to the Parrot, the Hooded Merganser or the Bufflehead and have a drink and back to the ballroom. None of us have a cover except the ballroom so you can go venue to venue,” said Jamie Moore, manager at the Hooded Merganser. “The other great thing the Lakeside is you don’t have to drive home or try and track down a taxi because we have room specials for that evening as well.”

The Barking Parrot has no cover charge on Dec. 31 and will have a DJ spinning tunes, the Hooded Merganser will have live entertainment courtesy of the Bob Bricker Duo and Bufflehead with have DJ Billy Retro. In all venues partygoers who will be handed party favours, champagne at midnight to drink while watching the fireworks boom over Okanagan Lake Park.

“The Hooded Merganser has an especially great view of the fireworks out of the windows and the other venues will be let known in advance so everyone can go outside for that,” said Moore.

For more info, to reserve a spot at any of the Lakeside events or to book a special New Years Eve room rate call them at 250-493-8221.

Make It Rain at The Mule

If you are Christmas’ed out and need to unwind and get a little crazy The Mule’s manager Steve Parker suggests heading to the club for the Make It Rain New Year’s Eve 2013 party.

Despite the name, don’t bring an umbrella.

“It is definitely not going to be rain drops. At midnight when the ball drops we are going to count it down then we will drop from the ceiling $1,000 in $1 U.S. bills on top of the club and everyone can grab whatever they can,” said Parker. “It is going to be pandemonium when there is $1,000 hitting the dance floor at the midnight.”

Doors for The Mule’s New Year’s Eve party open at 9 p.m. Party favours will be handed out upon entry and champagne will be served to everyone at midnight. Tickets are $5 and available at Green Beanz or The Mule.

Nk’Mip Mardi Gras Style

In Osoyoos the Nk’Mip Conference Centre is being transformed into an exclusive social masquerade party with a hint of Mardi Gras flair. The evening will be full of impeccable glitz and glam as partygoers welcome 2013. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and tickets to the event are $30 and include a masquerade mask, canapés, midnight toast and sparkling ball drop. They can be purchased by phone at 250-276-4501, online at www.paraisoevents.com or in person at Spirit Ridge, Mica Restaurant or Imperial Office Pro. Packages including accommodations at Spirit Ridge or for dinner at Mica Restaurant are also available.

Other events

A four-course plated dinner and entertainment from Roland Allen is how the Barley Mill will be celebrating NYE. The candle-lit event is $35 and tickets can be booked by calling 250-493-8000. The Copper Mug Pub is having a New Year’s party that includes prime rib dinner and dessert for $49.95 per couple. Call 250-493-2842.