Wassail your way into 2009
Twelfth Night: A few days after New Year's is the holiday season's best after-party, Twelfth Night, which is celebrated in the Bankside area of London each year by the Lions part, a Shakespeare-loving group of actors and performers. Highlights of the day, besides the usual wassailing, include the arrival of a pagan character known as the Green Man, who is basically a guy covered in vegetation (for wintertime, he wears holly), and an event that has spectators searching cakes for a hidden bean and pea. The two who find them are crowned King Bean and Queen Pea. It's more fun than it sounds, we swear. Free. 011-44-208-8452-3866, www.thelionspart.co.uk.
Victorian Twelfth Night Celebration: The Heritage Square Historic District celebrates Twelfth Night by hosting a fancy Victorian dinner in local historic homes. You'll be moved from house to house by horse-drawn carriage and enjoy food and entertainment in each location. The night includes wine and dessert, and based on photos of past dinners, guests are welcome to wear Victorian costumes. Riverside's Historic Mission Inn has special rates for those making a weekend. 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. both days. $85 per person, 951-683-2725. www.oldriverside.org.
CROWN POINT, Ind.
Twelfth Night Christmas Tree Bonfire Celebration: A Twelfth Night celebration closer to home than those first two is the annual bonfire party in Indiana that has the town of Crown Point getting rid of all of its Christmas trees by burning them at the local fairgrounds. Locals sip hot chocolate while they watch their pines going up in flames as kids sled around the snowy grounds (they hope). The night is sponsored by the city and one of its local funeral homes. Lake County Fairgrounds, Court Street. 219-663-2500, www.lakenetnwi .net (search "bonfire"), www.geisenfuneralhome.com.
Twelfth Night: A Twelfth Night celebration that's almost home comes courtesy of Westerly, which has an annual feast and show for the Epiphany. Local dancers, gymnasts, musicians, and puppeteers perform a new Twelfth Night-themed play each year. The soundtrack is provided by the Chorus of Westerly. After performances on Saturday and Sunday, you can stay for a feast with traditional peasant grub. Preview show on Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m., $15; regular performances Jan. 10-11 at 1, 4, and 8 p.m., $16-$35; feast $16. George Kent Performance Hall, 119 High St.. 401-596-8663, www.chorusofwesterly.org.
Lincoln Bicentennial: The 200th celebration of our nation's 16th president has already started and will run throughout 2009, but most of the big events are on Feb. 12. On that day there will be a Lincoln Birthday Tribute and Wreath-Laying Ceremony, a Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Ceremony, and an exhibition opening at the Library of Congress. Make sure you stop by Ford's Theatre, which should be reopening for the occasion. www.lincolnbicentennial.gov.
Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; check online to confirm. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.