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Rock, swing or ski in the New Year

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With the last day of 2012 falling on a Monday, the celebration to ring in the New Year starts this weekend.

Look for local entertainment ranging from live music to hitting the slopes.

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Highlights from the music lineup include a weekend of vocals at the Cannon River Winery. Annie Lawler and her band kick off a harmonious afternoon at 1 p.m. today with a laid-back mix of blues, jazz and alternative country. Jagged Ease follows Lawler's set. The five-piece acoustic group plays original compilations.

Singer, pianist and songwriter Andrew Walesch takes over Sunday afternoon. A newer face on the Minnesota music scene, Walesch maintains a very active performance schedule. As an in-demand performer, he is known most notably for his unique approach to -- and almost obsessive knowledge of -- "The Great American Songbook." Walesch also ventures outside of jazz and can be found playing anywhere from a classy cocktail lounge to a rugged piano bar taking requests from almost every genre.

Rock and roll your way into 2013 with continuous days of entertainment performed at Treasure Island Resort & Casino. The Roosters play in the Parlay Lounge tonight, while Them Pesky Kids takes over Sunday and Monday evening. The showcase event of New Year's Eve is iconic rocker Bret Michaels' concert in the casino's Event Center.

Michaels is best known for his time spent as the long-haired lead singer of Poison. Now, both touring as a solo artist and back with the band, Michaels plans to ring in the New Year here in the Midwest.

In contrast to the rocking, Café Accordion Orchestra and Monroe Crossings swing and fiddle their way out of the year with a show at the Sheldon Theatre.

Best described as "berets and bongos," the Café Accordion experience is a loungy, eclectic sound mixed full of French flare, Latin heat and Bohemian attitude. The gypsy-influenced quintet opens the set. The group, together since 1995, is led by Dan Newton on accordion and vocals, Eric Mohring on mandolin, violin and vocals, Erik Lillestol on bass and vocals, Robert Bell on guitar and vocals and Joe Steinger on percussion.

Closing the concert is bluegrass band Monroe Crossing. The combination of airtight harmonies, razor-sharp arrangements and their on-stage rapport has made them audience favorites across the nation.

Named in honor of Bill Monroe, "the Father of Bluegrass Music" himself, the band includes Derek Johnson on guitar, lead and harmony vocals, Lisa Fugile on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Matt Thompson on mandolin, fiddle and baritone vocals, Mark Anderson on bass and bass vocals and David Robinson on banjo.

What to do

If watching New York City's infamous ball drop on television is not your taste to ring in the New Year, then take advantage of the area's multitude of events.

Today

Cannon River Winery

An afternoon of live entertainment includes 1 to 4 p.m. Annie Lawler and 5 to 8 p.m. Jagged Ease.

When: 1-8 p.m.

Where: 421 Mill St., Cannon Falls

Cost: Free

More info: www.cannonriverwinery.com

Treasure Island

The Roosters entertain at Treasure Island Resort & Casino.

When: 8:30 p.m.

Where: Parlay Lounge

Cost: Free

More info: 877-849-1640 or www.ticasino.com

Sunday Dec. 30

Cannon River Winery

Singer Andrew Walesch provides live entertainment.

When: 2-5 p.m.

Where: 421 Mill St., Cannon Falls

Cost: Free

More info: www.cannonriverwinery.com

Treasure Island

Them Pesky Kids entertains at Treasure Island.

When: 8:30 p.m.

Where: Parlay Lounge

Cost: Free

More info: 877-849-1640 or www.ticasino.com

Monday Dec. 31

Welch Village

Spend the day on the slopes during Family Festival Days and end the evening with a fireworks display.

When: Opens at 10 a.m.

Where: Welch Village, 26685 County 7 Blvd., Welch

Cost: $59 for lift ticket, standard rental and beginner lesson; minimum of two required and must be purchased one day in advance

More info: 651-258-4567 or www.welchvillage.com

Sheldon Theatre

The French-flared eclectic ensemble Café Accordion Orchestra and bluegrass gospel group Monroe Crossing will perform.

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Sheldon Theatre, 443 W. Third St.

Cost: $27.50 adults, $17.50 students

More info: 651-388-8700 or 800-899-5759, or www. sheldontheatre.org.

Treasure Island

Them Pesky Kids entertains at Treasure Island Resort & Casino.

When: 8:30 p.m.

Where: Parlay Lounge

Cost: Free

More info: 877-849-1640

Treasure Island

Bret Michaels celebrates New Year's Eve at Treasure Island. Songs like "Talk Dirty to Me," "Nothin' But a Good Time" and "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" defined the glam-rock era of Michaels' fame with Poison. Now on his own, he still sells out arenas across the country.

When: 9 p.m.

Where: Event Center

Cost: $39, $49

More info: 877-849-1640.

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Stacy Bengs-Silverberg
Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.
(651) 301-7880
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