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Wednesday, September 22, 1999 Published at 04:21 GMT 05:21 UK


100 days to plan a party

Preparing to party, but tickets for the Dome's big night are by invitation only

Where are you going to be for the party of the century?

The countdown to the millennium enters its final 100 days and tickets for the Millennium Dome in London go on sale.

But tickets for New Year's Eve will not be available - the honour of joining Mr and Mrs Blair under the big top on 31 December will be by invitation only. So if you are not one of the lucky few here is a guide to some of the events that will be going on around the world.

Tonga: Determined to be the first inhabited land to welcome the 21st century, the Kingdom of Tonga recently put its clocks forward to gain an extra hour of daylight-saving time. On New Year's Eve, a festival of prayer and a parade will be followed by feasting and traditional Tongan dancing. After seeing in the New Year in Tonga the dedicated partygoer can hop on a boat or plane across the dateline to Samoa and celebrate millennium eve all over again.

[ image: A 'River of Fire' is planned as another millennium attraction in London]
A 'River of Fire' is planned as another millennium attraction in London
Jerusalem: Millions of people are expected to descend upon the ancient biblical sites of the Holy Land. Thousands more will head for Armageddon, now named Megiddo, in Israel, to see whether the Book of Revelation's prophecy about the end of the world will come true. Jerusalem's religious leaders are taking seriously predictions that as many as 40,000 visitors to the city during the millennium celebrations could be affected by religious delusions.

Sydney: A 24-hour free party will take place in front of the Sydney Opera House where spectators will be able to watch a parade of giant floating Chinese lanterns followed by a fireworks shows. Jugglers, magicians and street entertainers will line the streets. Thousands more people are expected to watch the show from boats in the harbour. Inside the opera house will be an exclusive party - and there have also been rumours of an outdoor concert performed by Michael Jackson.

Rio de Janeiro: New Year coincides with Brazil's 500th anniversary and two million people are expected to head for the city's famous Copacabana Beach. Samba and Brazilian pop music will sound out from three stages and at midnight there will be fireworks.

Paris: Recently mountain guides and pot-holers were called in to install 20,000 multi-coloured light bulbs along 14 miles of cable on the Eiffel Tower as part of the millennium celebrations. Ordinary electricians said the job was too dangerous.

For New Year's Eve the city's periferique motorway will be closed for live music and theatre. All the main landmarks along with the Eiffel Tower and 36 bridges on the Seine will be illuminated. The main events will take place on the Champs-Elysees where there will be special displays depicting events from the past century.

Washington: President Bill Clinton will join the thousands of people expected to gather between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial. He will narrate The American Spirit, a short film directed by Steven Spielberg, which charts the highlights of the 20th century. This will be followed by a firework display and a sound-and-light show. The president will then return to the White House and a black-tie dinner with100 of America's leading citizens.

In the glitzier city of Las Vegas Barbra Streisand will make rare live performance in a special millennium eve show.

[ image: London's party planners insist the Dome will not be the only place to be]
London's party planners insist the Dome will not be the only place to be
London: Outside of the Millennium Dome there are lots of other events taking place including an Elizabethan street fair and an ox-roast near Southwark Cathedral.

From Big Ben's first stroke of midnight a series of 2,000 pyrotechnic candles - one for each year of modern history - will be set off up the river from Tower Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge, creating a 'river of fire'.

This will be followed by a firework display from barges on the Thames. Trafalgar Square will be turned into an ice-rink and a concert at Greenwich's Royal Observatory will tell the story of the millennium through live pop and classical music. Celebrations in other capital cities will be relayed to revellers via giant television screens.

A round-up of other cities in the UK: In Edinburgh up to 200,000 people are expected to turn out for a ticketed millennium street party which the organisers confidently predict will be the greatest party in the world.

In Sheffield visitors can expect a world music festival and an Afro-Caribbean carnival with light shows and dancing. There will be a 'spiritual zone' by the cathedral which will stage choral and classical music.

In Manchester visitors will be able to dance the night away and enjoy fireworks, live music, a fairground and street theatre. In Liverpool the millennium eve celebrations will incorporate light shows and a giant clock ticking down to midnight.

In Belfast visitors will find a funfair, food festival, light parade and ice skating. And in Birmingham veteran pop star Sir Cliff Richard will celebrate the year 2000 with his fans - on stage at a special millennium charity concert.

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