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Monday, May 21, 2018
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New Year’s Eve at Freedom Plaza

It’s been said that “fast away the old year passes.” In fact, it passed so fast it was two hours early as Freedom Plaza residents took that phrase from the Christmas song “Deck the Halls” and ended their New Year’s Eve Gala a bit before 2014 actually arrived.

Their festivities had begun when the Auditorium opened at 7 p.m. to reveal the room elegantly decorated with round tables with turquoise cloths centered with glowing silver candelabra; champagne glasses marked each place, and tiny white lights glittered throughout the room’s greenery.

Celebrants were invited to sate their appetites at a buffet of hot and cold hors d’ouveres – and to quench their thirst at the bar. They enjoyed socializing with friends and dancing to live music. At 9:45 p.m. champagne was poured, and then sharply at 10 p.m. glasses were raised and “Auld Lang Syne” rang out with shouts of “Happy New Year!” The house lights were turned up and the 2013 New Year’s Eve Gala came to an end.

Then the party began. This occasion, called Afterglow, took place in The Pub, the less formal of Freedom Plaza’s six dining rooms. Its long mahogany bar held an array of snacks, and the bartender was on duty. Residents, most coming from the Auditorium event, gathered around the tables and prepared to extend their New Year’s Eve celebration. Since the Pub is the scene of a weekly singalong, it seemed only natural to break out in song and all the old familiar tunes were rendered with gusto befitting a New Year’s Eve gathering.

The Pub’s large flat-screen television was tuned to the celebration in Times Square, and at midnight this group of Freedom Plaza residents again raised their glasses and toasted each other with “Happy New Year!”

“Hail the new, ye lads and lassies” is the second phrase in “Deck the Halls” that will be taken just as seriously as the first I mentioned earlier. The new year will offer lads and lassies many of the activities and special events that have proven to be favorites, such as the Wine and Woof outdoor party for dogs and owners, the Wear Red Day and the Freedom Frolics. Popular excursions like the Florida Orchestra Coffee Concerts will continue, as will Grad School for Seniors classes and Opera Club sessions. Fresh entertainments, excursions and enrichment programs also will be introduced as Freedom Plaza hails the new year.

Peggy Burgess is a Freedom Plaza Associate and columnist for The Sun.

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