March 3, 2024

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Options worth celebrating
By Ross Boissoneau | Dec. 15, 2018

For many, going out on the town is the only way to ring in the New Year. Champagne at midnight, party favors, music, maybe even fireworks. So where to go and what exactly to do? We gathered some unique options from across the region.
It may be too cold for a riverwalk, but the views are so delightful at the Bluebird in Leland. Start with a buffet dinner at 7pm with catfish boudreaux, BBQ ribs, chicken piccata, pork potstickers, and more. Then groove to the soulful sounds of Soul Patch, with their trademark mix of everything from world beat and jazz to rockabilly and ska.
All-inclusive dinner and music tickets are $40 per person in advance by calling 231-256-9081 or $50 each at the door. Music and champagne tickets are $10 per person at the door starting at 9.
Garland Resort
The rural resort outside Lewiston is offering a New Year’s Eve extravaganza at with a Crab & Prime Rib Buffet at $44.95 per person. Reservations are required. Live entertainment from 9pm-Midnight features the Brenda Loomis Band, with a $20 cover, which includes snacks and champagne toast; admission for those at the buffet is $10. And if you’re staying over or just starting over, everyone is welcome to kick off the New Year with an All-Day Bloody Mary Bar New Years day while watching football in Antlers Bar.
Back to the Jazz Age
Manistee bills itself the Victorian Port City, but to celebrate the new year you can go a bit further into the 20thcentury with the Roaring 20s great Gatsby party at the Ramsdell Theatre. There’s even a poem for the affair:
"Come as a flapper or come as you are
Dress as a gangster or silent screen star
Its going to be fun no matter the dress
Just bring yourself and we’ll do the rest."
The festivities begin at 8pm, and features the music of Dave Greer’s Classic Jazz Stompers. Hors d’oeuvres, party favors, noisemakers, the de rigeur champagne toast at midnight, and prohibition-era cocktails round things out. Tickets are $50; go to
Cherry T-Ball
The annual downtown Traverse City festivities features a large replica of the unofficial city fruit being dropped to the ground at the stroke of midnight. It’s a tradition started a decade ago by a group of Traverse City-area residents as a way to celebrate and give back. In the last ten years it’s raised nearly $110,000 for local non-profits.
The large cherry drops from the sky at the intersection of Park and Front Streets. The gates open at 10pm and the event ends at 12:20am. Everyone is welcome to this family-friendly event, with a suggested donation of $3 per person. Typically between 8,000 and 12,000 attend, which also offers a DJ for dancing in the streets, and there are even fireworks at midnight (weather permitting).
Crooked Tree Arts Center
The adults can’t have all the fun. Crooked Tree Arts Center and the Petoskey District Library are joining forces for the annual, fun-for-all-ages New Year’s Eve at the Arts Center. Ring in 2019 with live music on five stages, enjoy arts and crafts, magic shows, pottery, karaoke, a free pizza buffet, cookies & cocoa, refreshments, and the "Midnight at 9" ball drop on Mitchell Street!
The fun takes place from 5pm to 9pm. It features live music from 1,000 Watt Prophets, Indigo Moon, The Real Ingredients, The Third Degree, and more. Tickets are $10 for adults (over 18), $5 students (2–18), and free for the little ones under 2. Go to
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
Dinner at Aerie Restaurant & Lounge features a one-night-only menu with wine pairings from its award-winning wine list. Local musician John Pomeroy will perform live music. Seating is limited.
For those looking for a little more action, resort guests and Club Members are invited to a special celebration in the newly-remodeled Governors’ Ballroom. The space will be set up with a variety of retro-style arcade games, a rocking DJ, and other activities. Light appetizers will be available, as will a cash bar. This is exclusively for guests and Club Members; admission to the party is complimentary.
Actually there is a third option, this one for the little ones. The Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party is an option for children ages 6–12, and includes activities like crafts, games, swimming, and a balloon drop at midnight. Licensed daycare is also available. Registration is $40 per child for guests ($30 per child for Club Members).
For information on all three, go to
Mackinac Island
Talk about a winter wonderland. Mackinac Island shakes off its seasonal slumber with several places reopening for the holiday season, including the Lilac Tree Inn. Otherwise closed for the winter, the hotel opens for the weekend, and it generally sells out for the next year shortly after the clock strikes midnight. There are a few restaurants open, and mingling locals and visitors become fast friends. Then, there’s the official New Year’s Eve drop: a large stuffed turtle wrapped in lights, lowered from the Lilac Tree roof, complete with anticipatory countdown. For more information, go to
So you’ve got the turtle drop and the Cherry T-Ball drop. But what about — a bridge drop? Yep, that’s the case in Charlevoix. The drawbridge in the middle of town will be lowered to the timing of the countdown to 2019. There are also fireworks displays at both 9pm and midnight, but the fun starts long before that with s’mores around bonfires at East Park in the afternoon, a free family movie, and the snowman-building contest.

Celebrate & Ski
Of course, many revelers like to take to the slopes. Most of the ski and snowboard resorts offer special amenities and activities for New Year’s Eve. Such as:
Shanty Creek Resort
The sprawling resort outside Bellaire offers a host of activities for all ages. For the younger set, Kids’ Night Out in the Bellaire Room runs 6–10pm, with games, arts and crafts, dancing and snacks. On the other hand, maybe the whole family wants to party together, at the Prime Rib & Crab Legs Dinner Show in the Lakeview Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. It begins at 6:30pm and features dinner, a ventriloquist/magic show, then dancing with a DJ. Adults $60, children 6–12 $25, 5 and under free. Reservations are required. Call 231.533.3000 ext. 7084.
The Lakeview Restaurant offers a more low-key approach, Ivan’s at Schuss Village has a $10 cover, and the River Bistro at Cedar River Village offers dinner, game room and eight TVs. And everyone can enjoy the fireworks display over Summit Mountain at midnight.
Treetops Resort
Heading to Gaylord? Treetops offers three different parties, four dinner buffets, and tons of winter activities. Start with the Family Party in the Convention Center from 8pm-12:30am.DJ Mike V will be playing dance music for all ages, there’s a photo booth, party favors, even an elf on stilts making the craziest and coolest balloon animals you've ever seen. Adult kids can enjoy a cash bar while the kiddos get age-appropriate snacks and drinks. Tickets: 21+, $20; age 13–20, $15; age 6–12, $10; 5 and under, free.
The Grown-Up Party at the Top of the Hill in Legends funs from 9:30pm to 12:30am with live entertainment by Strait Shooters. Enjoy party favors, a champagne toast, a bonfire just outside with s’mores & fireworks at a cost of $25 per person. Last, the Hunter's New Year's Party is the perfect answer if you're not a crowd person. After dinner, Hunter's Grille becomes a private New Year's Party with solo acoustic act Charlie Reager. This party is exclusive – entry only comes with the Platinum & Diamond Buffets. Enjoy party favors, live music, a Veuve Clicquot toast, bonfire, s’mores & front row seats to the fireworks at midnight. For reservations or more information, go to
Caberfae Peaks
Looking for some slopeside fun in Cadillac? Enjoy music, dancing and drinks in the Blackmer Lodge at Caberfae from 8 pm to 2am. Best of all, there’s no cover charge, so come on down.
Crystal Mountain
There’s something for pretty much everyone here on New Year’s Eve. There’s dinner at the Thistle Pub & Grille ($58 per person) or a buffet at the Wild tomato (adults $32, kids 7-12 $18, 6 and under $11), or the New Year's Eve Family Fun Party And Buffet in Hudson Bay in the upper level of the Crystal Center. The buffet is open 6-8, family fun including face painting, crafts and games beginning at 7pm, with a live DJ starting at 8pm. Ages 13+,  $35 per person; 7–12, $25; 6 and Under, $15. After 9pm, it’s just $10 per person.
The New Year's Eve adult party runs 8pm to 1am for $79 per couple. It features live music and tasty treats in Northwest Territories at the Crystal Center. Cocktails and Dancing, 10pm–1am ($15 cover charge for dance party only), with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, and, yes, fireworks!
Reservations are required for all; call 855-998-5359. 
Don’t miss the torchlight parade, starting at 11:45pm. Everyone with a valid season pass or lift ticket is welcome to participate. It starts at the top of Cheers at 11:45pm. To carry a torch, you must be 16 years of age and you must sign up at the Snowsports Desk on Dec. 31.
Nub’s Nob
Heading north to Harbor Springs? You can ring in the New Year at the bottom of the Green Lift on Monday, December 31, 2018 at 6 p.m. The Nub’s Nob Ski Patrol and the Winter Sports School skiers will make two runs down Smokey with flares in hand creating a beautiful light display. With the sun dipping below the horizon at 7:09, the nighttime starts early, making this a great family event for little ones who might not be able to stay up until midnight. Free of charge and no ticket required.
Boyne Mountain/Boyne Highlands
Don’t forget the Boynes! The New Year’s Eve Family Splashtacular at Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls features special pricing at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, plus two slices of pizza and two free refills of pop.  Children ages 10 and under must be accompanied by a ticketed adult.
There’s also a family dinner buffet from 5 to 9pm in Matterhorn in the Civic Center and Eriksen’s Dinner Party at 5pm & 8:15pm with a jazz trio from 5 to 1. Kids get their own celebration and pizza party at Helga Haus Children’s Center (adjacent to Civic Center). Crafts, games, pizza dinner, late night movie, and the annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks display. Child care including all activities and pizza dinner is $60 per child.Reservations recommended; call (231) 549-7274
Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs isn’t to be left out, not with its own Torch Light Parade and fireworks display. Plus a bonfire s'mores at the Main Lodge from 6pm-9pm, zipline adventure tours 10am & 1pm, Horseback Trail Rides, Pony Rides and
Twin Zip Rides – and that’s all before nighttime! It’s offering a New Year's Eve buffet in the main dining room, with the parade starting at 9:30pm. The Zoo Bar New Year's Eve Party features the Chris Calleja Band, 9pm–1am and a New Year's Eve Teen Party is at the Day Lodge from 10pm to 12:30am. Call 888-436-2296 for pricing and reservations.


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