Dress up, rock, sled with your kids or have a belly laugh until 2022
By Ross Boissoneau | December 18, 2021
New Years Eve 2020 was… quiet. New Year’s Eve 2021, on the other hand…? It’s ready to switch. For those who prefer a quiet party with family or friends, more power is yours. But for those looking to have fun and make up for lost time, the celebrations are coming back in force. Here’s a look at some of the options in the north:
Jim Hawley, singer and guitarist who opened for Jimmy Buffet and the Steve Miller Band, plays the Parlor in Traverse City.
Distant Stars, a loud quartet with one of the North’s most charismatic leaders, rock the Workshop Brewery in Traverse City.
The always fun band Off Beat plays from 9pm to 2am LC Taphouse in Lake City.
A rare and special event: Pine Lake Lodge in Boyne City, will open for one night only. The Cabana Boys play from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., The Sleeping Gypsies from 10:45 p.m. to 12:15 a.m., and the two groups will perform together until 1 a.m.
New Years Eve at TC wouldn’t be complete without dancing with a DJ in the streets – or the descent of a big illuminated cherry. Doors open at 10 p.m. for the CherryT Ball Drop (corner of Park and Front streets); the event ends at 12:20 am, after the fireworks display. A donation of $ 3 per person is requested, with funds going to local charities. Party at home? You can see the Ruby Red Fruit Drop live on the CherryT Ball Drop Facebook page from the comfort and warmth of your sofa.
The Traverse City Comedy Club is hosting a dinner and comedy (rib steak, baked potatoes and asparagus with parmesan garlic; baked salmon, rice pilau and balsamic-glazed Brussels sprouts; or grilled portabella, rice pilau and asparagus in garlic) with comedians Rob Jenkins, Ella Horwedel and headliner Mike Stanley. Chicago Reader The People’s Choice poll named Stanley named “Chicago’s Best Stand-Up Comedian” and HOUR Detroit Magazine named him “Best Comedian in Detroit”. See traversecitycomedyclub.com for tickets.
Studio Anatomy in Traverse City welcomes Brand Wenzel, originally from Detroit and transplanted to Los Angeles for two shows. Known for its no-sequitur style, quirky linings, dry delivery, and unassuming presence, it’ll put you in the spotlight. www.studioanatomy.com.
Looking to dress up and do well at night? Be one of 125 attendees at Nittolo’s Masquerade Party at Nittolo’s in Lake Leelanau. You’ll dance 2021 with Mark Randisi and the sounds of Sinatra while enjoying unlimited champagne and finger foods, gourmet fare, seafood stations, and wood-fired pizzas. Bonus: Nittolo’s can help you organize transportation services. Double bonus: The best dressed participant will win $ 500. Tickets cost $ 149 per person. (231) 954-2400
Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay is hosting a formal dinner (black tie optional) with multiple courses – think: oysters, lamb, artisan beef and more, each paired with the best bottles of BSF – as part of its Arcturos meal series. . $ 174 per person. Blackstarfarms.com.
The Walloon Lake Inn offers a special Surf & Turf dinner for New Years Eve, while the Walloon Hotel, next door, is the gathering place for the traditional midnight champagne toast.
The Crooked Tree Arts Center in downtown Petoskey kicks off at 5:00 p.m., with performances and workshops by CTAC instructors and friends of the Blissfest Music Organization and the District Library of Petoskey nearby. This northern Michigan event is alcohol-free and designed for all ages. Shows and art, music, dance and drama workshops, food and refreshments for all ages, and the special Midnight at 9pm ball game on Division Street.
Revival Center Church, 984 Plett Rd., Cadillac. Family activities all day long, with sledding on Cross Hill and hot chocolate at 4 p.m., soup and a dish of chili (judging begins at 6 p.m.); a snowman-building contest (winners announced at 7 p.m.), as well as a variety of table games throughout the evening.
The Leland Lodge hosts the Winter Cheer Fest for families, and it’s not just fun but free for the whole family. Party hours are “2:00 PM until frost”, and that’s because the toboggan run is open and awesome. You can warm up inside the lodge with special food and drinks, Painted Lady Face Painting (2 p.m.-5 p.m.) or sing along with The Broom Closet Boys (6 p.m.-9:30 p.m.)
MAKE IT A WEEKEND
Our northern seaside resorts roll out the white carpet on New Year’s Eve; go for the evening or stay until 2022.
At Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, start with dinner at the Thistle Pub & Grille or the Wild Tomato. Enjoy live music from the Boone Doggies at the Vista Lounge. Or celebrate Family Day in the Northwest Territories at the Crystal Center, which includes a buffet dinner, soft drinks, freebies, shows, and kid’s goodie bags. Don’t forget the Glow Light and Torchlight Family Parades, followed by fireworks!
For young and old alike, enjoy a bonfire and s’mores, zipline adventure tours, and pony rides at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs. Then there is the New Year’s buffet, a torchlight parade and fireworks. Adults can ring the bell in 2022 at the Zoo Bar; their rolling-eyed appearance can take part in the Teen Party inside the Day Lodge.
The Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City offers a five-course dinner with live music from 7-10 p.m. with the David Chown Trio and a cash bar in the Michigan Ballroom. Plan customers aged 21 and over also receive a ticket to the Light Up the Night 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. fireworks, dance music by DJ Ryan Rousseau, a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres. Kids can party too, with a slumber party at the Health Club. It includes a DJ, ball games, a poolside party, a scavenger hunt, cookie decorating, face painting, pizza, popcorn and dessert, as well as a sparkling juice toast and a balloon drop at midnight!
Treetops in Gaylord also offers entertainment for youngsters and adults. The family New Year’s Eve party features fun trivia, movies, and freebies. Adults can enjoy a cash bar while youngsters have their choice of kid-friendly drinks, as well as appetizers, brownies and cookies. A party reserved for adults with dueling pianos is also on the program. And when the clock strikes midnight, the fireworks start.
Shanty Creek in Bellaire has a host of offerings, from Family Fun Prime Rib Dinner Show at Summit Village to dinner at Lakeview Restaurant with a floor-to-ceiling view of the fireworks over Summit Mountain at 11pm. At Ivan’s at Schuss Village, Funkle Jesse will keep the dance floor filled all night long with pop, rock, oldies and current hits. Rather relaxed? Dine at the River Bistro in Cedar River Village.