Welcome to 2012! This year will bring us an extra leap day, the Summer Olympics and a national election, so let’s start it off right with some fun this month.

Take a run at New Year’s Eve celebrations
First Night First Collins turns sweet 16 on Dec. 31. The non-alcoholic, family-friendly party starts at 6 p.m. — after the Kids’ Countdown at 5 p.m. in Old Town Square and Fort Collins Opera Guild’s Arias at Avo’s at 4 p.m. — and continues through the fireworks display at 10:30 p.m. Drummers, magicians, dancers, singers, actors, cowboys, puppets, performing pigs and circus acts will fill downtown with music and wonder as the old year exits to make way for the new. Admission buttons are just $10 per person – kids under 4 are free – available at all Fort Collins, Windsor and Loveland King Soopers, the Lincoln Center box office, and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop and the Downtown Visitors Center in Old Town. On New Year’s Eve, buttons will be available only at Lincoln Center, Ben & Jerry’s, Northside Aztlan Center and the Masonic Lodge Center. Info: downtownfortcollins.com or 970-484-6500.

If getting more exercise is on your list for the coming year, you can get a jump on it at the 27th annual Resolution Run, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Clark Building on the Colorado State University campus. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a 5K race and support a local nonprofit at the same time — all proceeds benefit community radio station KRFC 88.9 FM. Registration is $25, and while it is a competitive run, it is also a family event with prizes for best costume and awards to finishers. Info: krfcfm.org.

Venetian glass by Dale Chihuly at FCMOA
Nothing takes the chill off a gray January day like a visit to a museum, especially one filled with the rich colors and sensuous shapes of work by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The Fort Collins Museum of Art is showing 45 of his works inspired by Venetian Art Deco art glass through March 18.

“Chihuly Venetians: From the George R. Stroemple Collection” marks the reopening of the museum after the historic Old Town building suffered significant water damage on Sept. 28. The highlight of the exhibition is the famous Laguna Murano Chandelier made up of more than 1,500 separate pieces of glass. Also on display are art glass pieces from Colorado collectors.

The museum at 201 S. College Ave. is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 pm; Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission $8 for adults; $6 for students/seniors (over 65) and $5 for youth 7-18; free to museum members. Info: 970-482-2787, www.ftcma.org.

Big horses, big show at Bud Center
The Big Thunder Draft Horse Show comes to the Ranch-Way Feeds Indoor Arena at The Ranch, the Larimer County Fairgrounds complex in Loveland, on the weekend of Jan. 13-15, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. See these magnificent animals working together in teams of up to eight horsepower. Tickets $12 adults, $6 children, available at the Budweiser Events Center box office or at the door. Info: 970-619-4003.

Keep your eyes on the skies
The Northern Colorado Astronomical Society will be on hand to provide information and telescopes for viewing the Night Skies over Waverly on Jan. 15 – or Jan. 22 if the weather doesn’t cooperate. The star party at the Last Resort Equestrian Center, 851 W. County Road 70 in Fort Collins, starts at 6 p.m. with a potluck dinner, presentation at 7 p.m. with telescopes for all. Sponsored by the Waverly Community Group. Reservations, directions and info: luannlresort@aol.com.

Buckeye-Waverly Area Plan topic on Jan. 25
Residents of Waverly, Buckeye and the surrounding area should save Jan. 25 for an important meeting with Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter. He will be at Turning Point at Waverly School, 10431 N. County Road 15 at 6 p.m. to hear from the public on the pros and cons of creating a Buckeye-Waverly land-use plan for the future of the area. Info: 970-498-7690 or rlegg@larimer.org.

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