Metro-East Living

Ready or not, it’s time to plan for New Year events

Ring in 2016

Bring your hand bells, jingle bells, door bells, dinner bells, cow bells — any kind of bells that ring — to the northeast corner of Belleville’s Public Square at noon Jan. 1 to join in the celebration to ring in the New Year.

The bell ringing tradition on the square began in 1914, the 100th anniversary of the City of Belleville. One hundred years later, on Jan. 1, 2014, folks relived that historical moment by ringing in the yearlong celebration of the city’s 200th birthday. It happened again on Jan. 1, 2015, so this year will be the third annual Ringing of the Bells.

It’s a good way for you to start a family tradition, too.

Music and fireworks show

Confederate Railroad will headline a country music and fireworks show, which begins at 5 p.m. Jan. 2 at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds.

The five-member band, which has had 18 charted hits, including its No. 1 song, “Trashy Women,” will perform many of its hits, some David Allan Coe and Johnny Paycheck tribute tunes, and a few brand new songs.

Here’s the lineup:

Miranda Hagan, Boulderdash & Fiddle Players, 5-7:30 p.m.

Confederate Railroad, 7:30-9 p.m.

Frierdich Fireworks Show, 9:15-9:30 p.m. (on the parking lot east of the race track)

Razed on Radio, 9:30-midnight

General admission is $20 in advance or $30 at the door. Limited VIP tickets are $55 in advance or $65 at the door. Includes full dinner and drinks, served by Roy-el Catering, from 5 to 7 p.m. plus VIP table seating and photos with Confederate Railroad.

Advance tickets: Call 866-925-9999 or online at

The dinner menu includes Roy-el house salad, sliced beef with raspberry sauce, chicken florentine, penne pommodora, apple wood roasted red potatoes, Tuscan vegetarian medley, dinner rolls. There also will be four cash bars and concessions.

New Year’s Eve Dance

Metro East Social Seniors will hold a New Year’s Eve dinner and dance Dec. 31 at Bel Air Bowl’s Panorama Banquet Center, 200 South Belt West in Belleville. Music will be by Dr. Dee.

Dinner is at 7 p.m.; dance is from 8 to midnight.

Admission to the dance only is $15. No one under 21 admitted.

Advance dinner reservations (by Monday) are $25; call 277-4540.

Okawville New Year Dance

The Okawville Community Club will hold its annual New Year’s Day Dance from 2 to 8 p.m. Jan. 1 in the exhibition hall of the Okawville Community Club, 511 S. Hanover St. in Okawville. Music will be by two bands, Rendition and Heritage. Admission is $8 per person. There will be beer, soda and food available for purchase beginning at 1 p.m.

Southern Gospel New Year

Southern Gospel 4U will present New Year’s Eve Southern Style at 7 p.m. Dec. 31 at River of Life Family Church, 3402 Fosterburg Road in Alton.

Performers include The Wanda Mountain Boys, Fred Church and The Spirituals and The Dysart Family.

The concert is free; an offering will be taken.

Exchange Club bingo

Tired of watching football on New Year’s Day? The Exchange Club of Belleville bingo will begin at 1 p.m. Jan. 1 at the Catholic Knights and Ladies of Illinois Country Club, 2800 N. Illinois St. in Swansea.

A 2-piece mixed chicken dinner with fries and slaw will be available for $2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There also will be big money jackpots.