Wednesday & Friday
Red Cross blood drive: The Red Cross has two blood donation opportunities scheduled in Thurston County — from 1-6 p.m. Wednesday at Capital Mall, 625 Black Lake Blvd., Olympia, and from 1-6 p.m. Dec. 29 at Littlerock Family Medicine, 6981 Littlerock Road SW, Suite 101, Tumwater. For more information or to make an appointment, go to redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. People who are at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health are eligible to donate.
Elected officials sworn in: The swearing-in ceremony for Thurston County’s new elected officials will be at 2 p.m. at the Minnaert Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community College, 2011 Mottman Road SW, Olympia. Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall will conduct the swearing in. Sheriff John Snaza will deliver the Pledge of Allegiance, and state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and U.S. Rep. Denny Heck will address attendees. The public is welcome.
Peace Tales for a New Year: This evening of storytelling put on by Rebecca Hom, Maggie Lott, and Tobey Ishii Anderson will begin at 7 p.m. at Traditions Cafe, 300 Fifth Ave., Olympia. Free admission, but donations accepted for Pear Blossom Place Family Shelter.
WET New Year’s fun: The WET Science Center at 500 Adams St. NE, Olympia, invites you to bring the kids for playtime, New Year’s Eve crafts, face painting, hats, noisemakers and a silly photo booth from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with New Year’s Eve celebrated at noon. Admission is free. Information: 360-664-2333, wetsciencecenter.org.
Noon Year's Eve Party for kids: The Hands On Children’s Museum is making its annual early New Year’s celebration “Aussie Style” this year. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be ball drops and a dance party every hour, as well as opportunities to meet a live kangaroo and mother and baby wallaby, watch science experiments, run an Outback obstacle course, “swim” with the sharks, toss snowballs, make puppets, and more. Free with museum admission, which is $12.95 for those ages 2-64; $10.95 for seniors, military, first responders and fosters; free for children younger than 2. Information: www.hocm.org
Learn to change your ways: Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center, 211 Legion Way SW, Olympia, will present a class titled “Letting Go of Bad Habits: Essential Buddhist Wisdom for Daily Life” from 7-9 p.m. It’s an alcohol-free alternative to celebrating the start of the new year. Light snacks provided. For information or to register, call 360-754-7787 or go to MeditateInOlympia.org.
Polar Bear Plunge: Join fellow enthusiasts for a chilling New Year’s ritual plunge into Long Lake. Enjoy music starting at noon at Long Lake Park, 2790 Carpenter Road SE, Lacey, then take the plunge at 1 p.m. — or stay warm and dry on shore and cheer on the swimmers. Free. All ages welcome. Information: 360-491-0857.
First Day Hike on First State Parks Free Day of 2018: Washington State Parks invites the public to start the new year off with a First Day Hike at more than three dozen parks across Washington. South Sound parks participating are Millersylvania in Thurston County, starting at 9 a.m. at Kitchen Shelter #1; Lake Sylvia in Grays Harbor County, starting at 1 p.m. at the kitchen shelter day use area; Westport Light in Grays Harbor County, starting at 10 a.m.; Lewis and Clark in Lewis County, starting at 10 a.m. at the main entrance gate. Park visitors will not need to display the Discover Pass on vehicles to access parks. Most participating parks will offer refreshments. Information about the First Day Hikes initiative: www.naspd.org/initiatives-special-programs/first-day-hikes/ and http://adventureawaits.com/253/2018-First-Day-Hikes-12-14-17
Stammtisch Olympia: A group of German-speaking seniors meets at 5 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month. Location varies. For details, call Gunther Hoffmann at 360-915-9079.
Want to get a local event listed in What’s Happening? Submit items 10 days or more in advance written in our style to email@example.com. Pictures are appreciated.