UPPER WEST SIDE — This year's Winter's Eve, the food and music festival that takes over Lincoln Square for a night each December, will celebrate the talents of Broadway greats Bebe Neuwirth and Brian Stokes Mitchell.
Hundreds regularly turn out for the festival, now in its 14th year and hosted by the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District, to sample food from local restaurants and check out various acts, which range from world music to dancers on stilts to folk rock.
Performances by Neuwirth and Mitchell, both Tony Award winners, will kick off the Dec. 2 festival and tree lighting in Dante Park, the BID announced. The stars' participation is part of a new Winter's Eve partnership with the Actor's Fund, with portions of the money raised at the event going toward the fund's social services for entertainers.
Along with her 2012 off-Broadway appearances, Neuwirth most recently starred in the "Addams Family" on Broadway. Mitchell last performed in the Broadway production of "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" in 2010.
The festival is aimed at kicking off the holiday season but also provides a boon to the area's culinary scene, organizers said. Visitors from all over the city come to buy samples from the booths of 30 local restaurants, including Boulud Sud, Rosa Mexicano, The Smith and Magnolia Bakery.
"Winter's Eve has become an annual tradition that epitomizes and showcases this thriving Upper West Side neighborhood as a vibrant cultural, culinary and shopping destination with Lincoln Square at its center," said BID President Monica Blum.
Admission is free, with coat donations suggested. The entertainment runs through 9 p.m.