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New Year's cancellations pile up in Twin Cities, although some plan to move forward

Can Can Wonderland, the Armory, and First Avenue are among those who have called off New Year's events due to COVID.

MINNEAPOLIS — Several major Twin Cities entertainment venues have called off scheduled New Year's events this week, citing renewed concerns about COVID-19 cases.

Can Can Wonderland, the arts and entertainment facility occupying 35,000 square feet in St. Paul, was the latest on Wednesday to announce it will not hold its scheduled New Year's Eve party. 

"Part of my job is to look at where the surge is," director of operations Tony Perella said. "We saw that other venues were considering closing for New Year's Eve. It certainly was on our radar as a possibility."

Starting Thursday, Can Can Wonderland will shut down for a full week until Jan. 6. 

By pausing for a week and canceling New Year's, Perella said his employees — all of whom are vaccinated — can have time to rest, perhaps get a booster if they need it, and come back stronger in 2022. 

"It is a disappointment. We're a place to celebrate, a place to come out," Perella said. "We were expecting a really good crowd, but, better safe than sorry." 

In Minneapolis, the Armory also decided to cancel "Lights All Night Minneapolis," which was scheduled to run both Dec. 30 and Dec. 31. First Avenue also scrapped plans for "Danceteria" on New Year's Eve but will be offering refunds to customers who bought tickets. Events at Palace Theater and Fine Line, which are under the same ownership, are also canceled.

"It also feels unbelievable to be postponing and cancelling concerts and events as we close out 2021, but here we are," First Avenue said in a press release earlier this month. "We will continue to assess shows on a case-by-case basis and update ticket holders on any changes."

Meanwhile, other smaller restaurants and breweries in the Twin Cities are proceeding cautiously with New Year's events. 

Fair State Brewing Cooperative in Northeast Minneapolis, for example, will be offering toasts and mini-ball drops at 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight to ring in 2022.

"We felt comfortable doing something that was going to be fairly low-key," co-founder Matt Hauck said. "It's not going to be a totally packed space. We're not bringing in live DJs or anything like that. Just doing a mini ball-drop and I'll probably be on the mic."

Earlier this month, Fair State also implemented a proof of vaccination or negative test requirement for indoor service — which of course applies to New Year's.

"We hope that's going to make it a safer experience," Hauck said, "for people who choose to come out and celebrate with us."

At the Xcel Energy Center, the "Winter Classic New Year's Eve Bash" will also move forward, headlined by country star Thomas Rhett. Proof of vaccination is not required but "face coverings are requested for all guests regardless of vaccination status."

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