What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? | Features

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? | Features
Parties, dinners and events across the North ringing in 2023
By Ross Boissoneau | December 24, 2022

A new year brings new opportunities for all kinds of celebrations. From north to south, chic venues to midnight streets, there’s something for practically everyone to celebrate the arrival of 2023. Here are just a few of the possibilities. A new year brings new opportunities for all kinds of celebrations. From north to south, chic venues to midnight streets, there’s something for practically everyone to celebrate the arrival of 2023. Here are just a few of the possibilities.

CherryT Ball Drops | Downtown Traverse City


Where else can you see a 600 pound cherry fall from the sky to mark the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023? (Spoilers: nowhere else.)

This is the 13th year of the celebration and this time there will be a “Party with a Purpose” at the corner of Cass Street and Front Street. (The suggested donation is $5 per person.) Over the years, the CherryT Ball Drop has raised nearly $110,000 for local nonprofits focused on food insecurity, and this year’s beneficiaries are Goodwill Northern Michigan’s Food Rescue and Northwest Food Coalition. Each year, Food Rescue rescues, harvests, bags and distributes $1.8 million worth of food. The Northwest Food Coalition is a group of 70 pantry and emergency food facilities in northern Michigan serving approximately 500,000 people each year.

So how’s the party you ask? Must be very special as an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 people attend. The gates open at 10:30pm and soon after the entertainment begins on the stage.

Additionally, this year CherryT Ball Drop is partnering with new restaurant North Bar for Masquerade ’23. Party above it all with the best live view of the festivities on the street from the heated rooftop bar with cocktails, appetizers, DJ, dancing and more from 8pm to 1am.

The Big Turtle Drop | Mackinac Island


Speaking of dropping, you can actually celebrate the season on the island. And it’s not about fudge, or ice cream, or even lilacs. Ring in the New Year on the island in Lake Huron with the Great Turtle Drop instead!

Experience the countdown to midnight on the island and watch as a giant celebratory turtle is lowered from the top of the Lilac Tree Hotel. It’s a unique Mackinac celebration that began in 2011 and has become popular with islanders and visitors alike.

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa | summit


Fire and ice never sounded so beautiful. At least at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, where the Fire and Ice Party is guaranteed to start the New Year with a bang. Party-goers have two options: One is a two-night package that includes lodging, a four-course meal at the Michigan Ballroom, and admission to the Fire and Ice Party at Governors’ Hall. The other are party-only tickets. The event features the John Pomeroy Band, a cash bar, late night hors d’oeuvres and fireworks at midnight.

Children aged 6 to 12 can enjoy the New Year’s Eve Children’s Party at the Health Club with pizza, games, swimming, a movie and a midnight balloon drop. The party goes from 7:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

But wait, there’s more! Those looking for something a little more romantic can reserve a four-course meal at Aerie Restaurant & Lounge on the tower’s 16th floor, with options like fried crab cakes, braised pork belly, and crispy salmon. Dinner is from 5pm to 10pm and live music is from 7pm to 1am. And you made it to January 1st? New Year’s Brunch Buffet at Aerie Restaurant & Lounge is served from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

Black Star Farms


For the foodies, Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay offers a wine and dine dinner ($155 per person) that is both an experience and a culinary delight. Each of the five courses is carefully paired with a Black Star wine, from the grilled shrimp cocktail appetizer with 2017 Blanc de Blanc to the Key Lime Panna Cotta paired with a glass of 2022 Bubbly Nouveau. The chef will share the inspiration behind each course, and a member of the winemaking team or Black Star family will present matching wines.

“It’s a dinner presented at long tables in a communal style. I like to say that these special dinners are where strangers become friends as the conversations flow,” says Sherry Fenton, owner of Black Star Farms. “On New Year’s Eve and all holidays, I take great pleasure in inviting our local community to celebrate with us. We love being that special meeting place.”

Have a Great New Year | Marion


If you’re looking to enjoy an engaging, intimate party, consider the Olde Mill Venue in Marion. The unique location – a former barn – by the mill pond will host this evening event with live classical music during cocktail hour and dinner followed by a three course plated meal. Then there’s dancing with a DJ until the early hours of the morning and a champagne toast at midnight. Formal attire is required, as are pre-purchased tickets ($100).

Nub’s Nob | Harbor Springs


Better a snowsuit than a suit and tie? The week between Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to hit the slopes. (Assuming we’ve got snow behind us, of course.) To celebrate the New Year, check out the family-friendly Torchlight Parade at Nub’s Nob.

Starting at 5:30pm – it helps that it gets dark early in winter – the Nub’s Nob ski patrol and ski school instructors, torches in hand, will do a Run Down Smokey and another Down Valley to create a beautiful light show .

“Typically around 50 instructors and patrol officers take part in the parade. It takes about 15 minutes and is free. This, along with the relatively early start time, makes it a good option, especially for families with younger children,” says Brian Boeckl, director of marketing at Nub’s.

Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa | Thompsonville


There are also parades on the slopes at Crystal Mountain and you can join in. The first 100 people aged 18+ can carry a flashlight, while the first 100 aged 6-17 can carry a glow light. The parades begin at 10:00 p.m. at the top of Cheers to Lou (registration before 8:00 p.m.), and after the parade fun is over, overnight guests, Four Seasons Club members and owners are invited to enjoy a fireworks display over the mountain.

The resort also offers a Northwest Territories family celebration at the Crystal Center with a buffet dinner, soft drinks, party favors, live entertainment and gift bags. Adults can dance to live music with the TC Knuckleheads in the Vista Lounge, and you can even celebrate in your own private setting with special crystal party packages including four top hats, tiaras, noisemakers, Happy New Year glasses and a Happy New Year banner. For a relaxing evening, enjoy dinner at The Thistle or Wild Tomato – both restaurants have special New Year’s Eve menus.

Would you like to do something on New Year’s Eve? Snowshoeing is permitted on all Crystal Mountain properties except downhill and cross country trails. And there’s no better place to explore than Michigan Legacy Art Park, the 30-acre preserve with over 50 sculptures.

Great Wolf Hut | cross town


Is it too cold for you outside? Enjoy the warmth of the holidays at Great Wolf Lodge’s 84-degree indoor water park. No, it’s not exclusive to New Year’s Eve, but hey, who doesn’t enjoy a break from the snow and cold?

The interactive Snowfall Celebration offers plenty of holiday cheer as families gather to ring bells, sing seasonal tunes and participate in a celebratory dance party to conjure magical flurries of snow. There’s also vacation yoga, games ranging from bingo to trivia to a scavenger hunt and more, including dining at the resort’s three restaurants.

Shanty Creek | Bellaire


Did someone say family fun? The entire clan will enjoy a comedian, magician and DJ dancing in the Lakeview Hotel’s grand ballroom for a prime rib dinner show. Doors open at 6pm and entertainment starts at 8pm.

Sans children? Dine at River Bistro or Lakeview; The latter offers a floor-to-ceiling view of the fireworks at 11pm. (There’s also a fireworks display at 10:00 p.m. over Schuss Mountain.) On this side of the property, you can enjoy the adults-only party at Ivan’s, featuring The Phoenix Theory, a Detroit-based dance, pop, and rock group.

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