2006 World Cup in Germany
FIFA World Cup: Kick back in Germany with your favorite soccer team.

Now, Let's Get This Party Started!

Take in Europe's Cultural Capital for 2006, Patras, Greece.
Take in Europe's Cultural Capital for 2006, Patras, Greece. (Patras 2006)
By Andrea Sachs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 1, 2006

For most New Year's Eve revelers, the party ends once the hangover begins. What a shame. To combat this post-ball-drop malaise, we found 10 of the biggest, busiest, most eventful celebrations going on worldwide in 2006. Below, we tell you why they made our list -- and how to keep the merrymaking going until the next flip of the calendar. So strap on that goofy hat again and get back into party mode.

Ben Franklin Tercentenary

WHAT: America's biggest overachiever, Ben Franklin, would have turned 300 on Jan. 17 -- and the party is no simple cake-and-candles affair. Ben-centric festivities will run through 2006 in various American cities and countries, but Philadelphia will host the largest bash, with more than 125 activities through April.

WHY GO: Because every time lightning strikes, you have Ben to thank for protection.

HIGHLIGHTS: The man who established the first public hospital, invented the lightning rod and helped found our nation is honored around town with museum exhibits, symphonies, lectures, demonstrations and even a ballet in which dancers interpret his inventions , including swim fins and bifocals. You can also get your fill of Franklin at " Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World ," at the National Constitution Center ($14) until April 30. The show includes hundreds of original artifacts -- including the Declaration of Independence -- and discussions with renowned biographers. On a less serious side, visitors can pair the exhibit with their best jammies Jan. 13 at Ben's Birthday Pajama Party (National Constitution Center; $40), which includes music, games and snacks. And if one party isn't enough, celebrate each year of Franklin's "life" at 300 Birthday Parties for Ben , a splash of mini-fetes held around Philly Jan. 13-15 and 17.

SLEEPS AND PACKAGES: Until April 30, more than 35 hotels are offering Ben's Birthday Hotel Package, which includes one or two nights' lodging, two tickets to the "Better World" exhibit and other amenities (based on the property). Prices vary, but in January the Penn's View Hotel is going for $176 per night double, including tastings representative of Franklin's wine cellar. Info: 800-537-7676, http://www.gophila.com/ben .

INFO: Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, 215-557-0733, http://www.benfranklin300.org/ . Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp., 800-537-7676, http://www.gophila.com/ .

Turin Winter Olympics

WHAT: The XX Winter Games, Feb. 10-26 in Turin, Italy, and the surrounding Alps.

WHY GO: You've seen the shroud, now see the Spandex skin suits.

HIGHLIGHTS: The Italians are expected to pull out the pageantry for the opening and closing ceremonies , though show details remain hush-hush. Other big events include women's figure skating , featuring the Susan Lucci of the Olympics, gold-medal-less Michelle Kwan; the men's NHL All-Star ice hockey competition ; and Alpine skiing , with American crash-or-win star Bode Miller. And don't forget sleeper sports such as short-track speed skating -- can the home team out-speed U.S. whiz kid Apolo Anton Ohno?

For individual tickets, some events are sold out, such as the men's hockey gold-medal competition, but tickets may free up closer to the date. Otherwise, prices through CoSport, the official Olympic ticket and hotel provider (see below), range from under $50 to more than a grand.

SLEEPS AND PACKAGES: Lodging is available in and around town and the mountains. CoSport has rooms at the Eden Hotel Savigliano for $561 per night. The property is about an hour by train from Turin. The company also sells packages that include lodging, some meals, transportation and event tickets. A three-night package at the Hotel Gril Campanile in Turin, for example, includes tickets to men's Super G slalom skiing, men's speed skating and the Canada vs. Finland hockey match for $3,506.50 per person double. Info: 877-457-4647, http://cosport.com/ .

INFO: XX Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, http://www.torino2006.org/ .

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