JOPLIN, Mo. — New Year's Eve parties will offer a little bit of everything this year, from a tribute to the 1920s to a Motown legend in concert.
Roaring good time
Though he hasn't read the book, Mark Williams loved watching Baz Luhrman's production of "The Great Gatsby." And when he thought of how to decorate for a Gatsby-themed party, one of his first thoughts was about three golden statues.
Standing about nine feet tall, the statues feature Greek goddesses holding chandeliers. Williams saw them for sale several years ago in Kansas City -- they were formerly part of a casino's decor -- and finally had a reason to buy them.
"I like the idea of the spirit of a booming economy and the attitudes that go along with it," Williams said. "Compared to now, when there's economic gloom and doom, the new year is a chance for a fresh start."
The movie and the decor of the Cosmopolitan Event Center, located at Fifth and Main streets, combine to create the perfect theme for a formal celebration, said Williams, the event center's manager. The event will include a speakeasy, a mock casino, a performance by JoMo Jazz, dance lessons, an illusionist, lounge singers, a dance floor, smoke machines, a dazzling light and laser show as well as ZZ Top tribute band Sharp Dressed Man, which won VH1 honors for being ...
Wait -- light and laser show? ZZ Top tribute band? At a party based on the Roaring Twenties? Williams has the anachronism covered.
"It's in with the old and in with the new as well," Williams said. "The band will be coming out of a time machine as a way of bringing the '80s to the '20s."
Williams said there will be a bunch of similar anachronistic surprises as often as every 30 minutes.
The event is big, not only for New Year's Eve or as a nod to the excesses that Fitzgerald wrote about, however. This is a grand opening of sorts for Williams and the event center, formerly the Christman Event Center. Williams started a separate company to handle the operation of events in the ballroom.
In addition to renting the facility for weddings, banquets and other events, Williams said the Cosmopolitan will also hold more of its own events in 2014, including a Valentine's Day banquet, business expos, mystery dinner theaters and more.
"We plan to get this center a lot more active," Williams said. "We want this to be seen as the premier mid-sized event and banquet center in Joplin. We are the most ornate of the historic buildings, and we have five event planners on staff."
Other features include a buffet, champagne toasts, a cash martini bar, door prizes, a photo booth and novelty items for sale. The event will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Tickets to the New Year's Eve event are $100. Advance tickets can be bought for $79 per person or $150 per couple until midnight Saturday. Attire is formal or '20s-themed.