Ring in the New Year before midnight at these offbeat events

We all have our New Year's Eve rituals -- from parties wild or romantic to a quiet toast at home. Some folks turn in before the clock even strikes midnight, and in Denver, others will be bundling up their families to catch fireworks downtown for free. How bout you? Looking for something offbeat? Here are a couple of those.

See also: Ten fun things to do in Denver on New Year's Day 2014

Artist Lola Montejo traditionally takes her member slot at CORE New Art Space at the turn of the year, and tonight, she'll be hosting a low-key pre-reception for LOLA, an exhibition of her abstract paintings that shares space with works by her elementary school art students. But it also doubles as a nod to the new year traditions of her native Spain: Spanish goodies and cocktails will be served from 5 to 9 p.m., and you'll still have time to explore other New Year's Eve options afterward.

Buntport Theater will also serve an aperitif to wilder celebrations that's a fundraiser as well: a New Year's Eve Benefit Bash that's a little bit glitzy, with dinner, dancing and festive drinks, both alcoholic and not. It's over two hours before midnight, so you can still catch fireworks or go straight home to watch the ball drop in Times Square. The party goes from 6:30 to 10 p.m. and costs $25; make reservations online.

For more last-minute New-Year's ideas, visit our online guide.

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