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The 10: New Year's Eve special for Buffalo

1) Downtown ball drop, 10 p.m. in Roosevelt Square, downtown Buffalo (on East Huron between Main and Washington). Free to attend.

Commentary: If you like fresh air and people-watching, a trip to the Electric Tower and Roosevelt Square makes the most sense for celebrating New Year's Eve.

Expat sensation Caitlin Koch returns home for a show before midnight, when the epic countdown and dazzling fireworks make everyone relieved that 2016 is finally over. If we ranked years like we ranked months, 2016 would be equivalent to 400-day February.

[Photos: Smiles at the 2015 New Year's Eve Ball Drop]

Smiling faces and Tim Hortons cups at the 2016 ball drop. (Don Nieman/Special to The News)

2) Ice Ball, doors open at 6:30 p.m. in Statler City (107 Delaware Ave.). Tickets remain for seating in the Terrace Room ($150) and the Georgian Ballroom ($125), and they can be purchased here. There's even free parking in a ramp by City Hall.

Commentary: The premium open bar runs between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m., while an exquisite dinner - with dessert and late-night food - is scheduled as well. The ballroom designation only applies to where you're seated for dinner - guests can mingle in the three rooms that are already sold out. Entertainment from the Toy Brothers, Boys of Summer, Big City Horns and more should keep the party moving.

[Photos: Smiles at the 2015 Statler City Ice Ball]

Smiles at the 2015 Statler City Ice Ball. (Chuck Alaimo/Special to The News)

3) Brew Year's Eve, 7 p.m. Dec. 31 in Buffalo RiverWorks (359 Ganson St.). Tickets are $65 for a single or $110 for a couple, and can be purchased here. If bought at the door, the cost is $75/$130 for two.

Commentary: The most exciting part of this New Year's Eve option is undoubtedly the first chance to try RiverWorks' first line of beers from its new brewery. They'll be complemented by Pearl Street's existing brews, like Trainwreck, Street Brawler, Sabres' Edge Double IPA and more, plus an open skate and food stations for a dinner served at 9. Urban Renewal headlines the bill of music.

4) New Year's Eve with Jimkata, doors at 8 p.m. Dec. 31 in Town Ballroom (681 S. Main St.). Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

Commentary: If you're not about donning a tuxedo or fancy dress and would rather just dance for a few hours, Town Ballroom hosts local band Lazlo Hollyfeld covering LCD Soundsystem and Ithaca-based headliners Jimkata, whom News contributor Mike Farrell praises here. Plus, compared to RiverWorks and the Statler, the Ballroom's party is a massive bargain.

5) Emo Night New Year's Eve, 9 p.m. Dec. 31 in Waiting Room (334 Delaware Ave.). Tickets are $35 and can be purchased here.

Commentary: There is a four-hour open bar for PBR, Bud and Bud Light, wine and well liquor, plus pizza and even vegan pizza. How many New Year's Eve parties in Buffalo will offer vegan pizza?! James Dewees, formerly of My Chemical Romance, and Jeramiah Pauly, of Pentimento, are the hosts and emcees, who will spin remarkably emotional music from the '90s through today.

6) New Year's Eve at Tonawanda Castle, 7:30 p.m. doors Dec. 31 at 69 Delaware St., Tonawanda. Online ticket sales have ended, although they can still be purchased at the door. See the tiers of tickets here.

Commentary: Rising event venue Tonawanda Castle opens its doors for New Year's Eve, offering a buffet dinner at 8:30 and various drink packages in a formal setting. Don't expect this one to be quite as crazed as the downtown options, which is why it's featured here.

7) Rusted Root on New Year's Eve, doors at 8 p.m. Dec. 31 at Buffalo Iron Works (49 Illinois St.). Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door.

Commentary: Pittsburgh rock band Rusted Root is no stranger to Western New York, and the five-piece rolls into Iron Works for a New Year's Eve gig with Funktional Flow as the openers. The Cobblestone District isn't far from the main downtown festivities, so you could presumably hit them both.

8) "Die Hard," 11:30 a.m. Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 in North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave.). Tickets are $5.

Commentary: Say good riddance to 2016 with violence, explosions and Bruce Willis. North Park has a knack for choosing suitable classic movies to go with current events, and they really brought their A-game with these showings.

The Mac Daddy Bloody Mary from Mac's On Hertel comes with candied bacon and blue cheese-stuffed celery. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

9) National Bloody Mary Day, Jan. 1 in locations throughout Buffalo and the U.S.

Commentary: I think it's fitting that National Bloody Mary Day immediately follows New Year's Eve. Is there a better way to curb the lingering sweetness of champagne than with a spicy concoction a few hours later?

News contributor Emeri Krawczyk offers a heap of suggestions for where to take advantage of this national day.

10) First Night Buffalo, 5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 31 in Buffalo Niagara Convention Center (153 Franklin St.). Tickets, if purchased at Wegmans in advance, are $10 for adults and children 3 years and older. Children 2 and under get in for free. Prices rise $2 if bought at the door, while children 2 and under still get in for free.

Commentary: Buffalo's ultimate family-friendly New Year's Eve party swarms the convention center downtown, and hey, I can appreciate a New Year's Eve event that ends before midnight, mostly because it's easy to get sleepy, impatient or "hangry" in that two-hour window between 10 and midnight.

You can find First Night's full schedule of events here, and some of the draws are Jeff Musial's exotic animals, a black-light dance party, American Ninja Warrior training and amusement rides and finally, the balloon drop.

Email Ben Tsujimoto, who thinks more events should have a T-shirt cannon, at


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