“Don’t watch the New Year arrive on TV,” Kevin Pate is telling members of the Heart of Texas Dance Club. “Bring it in dancing and socializing!”

The local dance club, whose members can receive instruction from Pate, is hosting one of several New Year’s Eve events which beckon Brown County residents out of their easy chairs and into activities that range from worship services, to bingo, to fine dining and… dances.

Heart of Texas Dance Club

“The club has been holding weekly dances on Saturdays at the Parish Hall at St. John’s Episcopal Church, but we’re having a New Year’s Eve dance this week,” Pate said. “The music will feature a variety of dances, along with hot and cold hors d’ouevres throughout the evening.”

The dance will be held from 8 p.m. Monday until 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, and a traditional light meal of cornbread with black-eyed peas will be served at midnight. “Tumbleweed” will be the DJ, and a variety of music will be offered — country-western, swing, ball room and others by request, Pate said. A free swing dance lesson will precede the dance.

“We have an open practice every week,” Pate said. “It seems every time we get together, we add someone new to the group.”

Cost of the dance is $3 for members and $5 for non-members, but memberships good through May cost $10 and will include Monday’s event. For information, call Pate at 646-2143.

Prayer and praise

A community praise and prayer service will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at Union Presbyterian Church, 700 Fisk, Brownwood. The Brown County Ministerial Fellowship has been holding a series of monthly services rotating among participating churches, and planners decided to move this month’s service to New Year’s Eve. The public is invited to the service, which is expected to last about an hour.

Five-course dinner

Chef Eric Aldis at The Turtle Restaurant downtown is preparing a five-course dinner with dessert for Brownwood area diners Monday night, and his signature dish will be featured as the second course.

“This is the first time Brownwood has seen anything like this,” Aldis said Saturday. “We try to provide an evening of fine dining any time there’s a special occasion, but it’s not been on this scale.”

Aldis, who came to The Turtle with experience in top restaurants in New Orleans and Las Vegas, said many of the items needed to prepare New Year Eve’s dinner — particularly the seafood — won’t arrive until Monday.

“The second course will be my signature dish, scallop metamorphosis,” Aldis said. “This dish won the Iron Chef contest when I was at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, where all the chefs there entered. There must have been 20 chefs involved.” Aldis said thanks to a secret ingredient he adds to the mushroom and spicy lemon grass broth, it changes color in front of the diner.

Other courses are fresh Gulf oyster with American paddlefish roe, Texas game hen stuffed with pecan bread pudding and vanilla bourbon jus, blueberry crusted venison rack, and rubbed short rib with white bean ragout and spinach. Dessert will be egg nog tartufo and Brownwood beignets with hot chocolate sauce.

“The holiday made delivery difficult, but my suppliers worked with me amazingly,” Aldis said. Seafood will be coming from the Texas coast as well as New England.

Dinner will be served at three times — 6, 8 and 10 p.m. — and the final seating will allow diners to welcome the New Year together. A live jazz band will be featured.

Reservations are recommended, but not required, Aldis said. On Saturday, the 8 p.m. seating was almost filled, and the 10 p.m. time was close behind. The restaurant’s telephone number is 646-8200.

Other events

The Lake Brownwood Lions Club will host “Bingo Extravaganza” with doors opening at 5 p.m. Two sessions will be played, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Several donated door prizes will be raffled. All door prize winners must be 18. The American Legion at Harbor Point will host a New Year’s Eve Dance from 8 p.m. to midnight. Cost is $15 per person.