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By Miriam Raftery
December 29, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Looking for the best parties in town to ring in the New Year?  This year, casinos on tribal reservations in San Diego’s inland regions are offering glitz, glamour, gambling and prizes galore at a variety of festive New Year’s Eve parties.  Check out our guide below for details on the hottest options for welcoming in 2012:

Speakeasy Ball at Santa Ysabel Casino:
 Ring in 2012 in classic style—get dolled up as a 1930s  flapper, gangster or bootlegger to celebrate an era when prohibition made local brews the norm and underground gaming the excitement.  The party includes live music, a photo booth, and over $12,000 in giveaways in 12 hours.   The Santa Ysabel Casino, which calls itself San Diego’s “craft brew casino,”  is located on Highway 79 between Santa Ysabel and Warner Springs. Learn more at and
Hollywood Glamour at Golden Acorn:  Don your most elegant vintage attire to win $1,000 in an “Old Hollywood Costume Contest” at Golden Acorn Casino, where you’ll also get a complimentary photo on arrival, meet and greet a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, and enjoy entertainment by Rip Carson’s Rockabilly Band.  If you’re in a gambling mood,  you can enter the Old Hollywood Slot Tournament or enjoy free play on the casino floor.  Watch balloons drop at midnight, followed by a prize drawing to ring in 2012. Golden Acorn is located just off I-8 in Campo.  For more information, see
Dueling Pianos at Barona Casino and Resort:  The famous Shout! House rock ‘n’ roll dueling pianos will provide musical entertainment at 9 pm featuring hits from the 1950s to the present—including audience requests, high energy showmanship and hilarious comedy.  Then at 10 pm, a tribute to Sir Elton John and Billy Joel will ensue. In addition, the casino hosts a New Year’s Eve “Rapid Fire” competition from 12 noon to 9 pm on Dec. 31 and from 1-4 a.m. January 1st.  Club Barona members are eligible to win prizes and winning seats will be chosen at random each 14 minutes to win $1,000. For those who don’t wish to drive home on New Year’s Eve, the Barona Resort offers luxurious accommodations with a spa, golf course and dining also on the premises.  For details, visit
Entertainment, dining and prizes at Viejas Casino:  Entertaining options at Viejas on New Year’s Eve include Rising Star and Big Time Operator in the Dreamcatcher Lounge, which will be open to the public, as well asSteve Lucky and the RHumba Bums, Hot Rod Lincoln, and Caliber in the V Lounge.   Special dining options include a $19.95 Harvest Buffet with snow crab and beef tenderloin (late night just $12.95 from 12:15-3 a.m.), or New Year’s Eve at the Grove Steakhouse priced at two for $99.  The casino will also give away $20,000 in promotions for players, with some lucky guests chosen to compete in a $20,000 VIP backstage slot tournament.  Guests can also earn points on V-Club cards  December 31 for a chance to win up to $50,000 on January 1.  Bingo players may also vie to win $2012 on New Year’s Eve.  Get details at
Nemesis at Sycuan Casino:  Live music from Nemesis in the lobby at Sycuan’s newly remodeled casino will ring in the New Year with hits from the ‘70s,’ 80s and ‘90s.  The casino will also give away $12,000 in cash prizes all evening long.  All Club Sycuan members get a free entry, or earn more by playing slots, table games, bingo or poker. Hats, horns and goodies will be provided for players all night long.   Sycuan is located on Dehesa Road at the eastern end of El Cajon. 

Larger than Life New Year’s Eve at Harrah’s Rincon: 
Stilt walkers, celebrity impersonators and caricature artists are all part of the fun at Harrah’s Rincon, located in Valley Center east of Escondido.  For dining options, choose from a $28.99 New Year’s Eve buffet or a $75 dinner at Fiore’s. The latter includes such delicacies as oysters, honey-apricot chevre with champagne vinaigrette, choice of entrees including surf and turf or Alaskan halibut topped with crab, jumbo prawns and scallops, and desserts such as a chocolate-raspberry bomb.  You can disco the night away at the Oasis Lounge and enter drawings for $100,000 in prizes. Read more:

“Party Gras” at Valley View Casino & Hotel: 
Valley View Casino in Valley Center promises to countdown to the New Year with “all the fun and excitement of New Orleans” at its “Party Gras” style New Year’s Eve celebration.  Note: The Buffet and the Black & Blue will be closed for special events New Year’s Eve, so consider the dining options at the nearby Harrah’s Rincon listed above.

Siren’s Crush at Pala Casino Spa & Resort:
 Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style with Siren’s Crush, a live band known for its high-energy show, dazzling wardrobe and concert-level choreography. Siren’s Crush has been branded as “a new Destiny’s Child with the energy and diversity of Black-Eyed Peas.”  The group will perform at the Infinity; tickets are $25.  Dining options at Pala on New Year’s Eve include a steak and seafood buffet for $36,  a $59 special menu dinner at Mama’s Cucina Italiana, or a $109 Oak Room package that includes special New Year’s Eve menu and private party at the events center. Pala Casino is located in northeast San Diego County on Highway 76 in Pala.  For details, see   

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