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Your New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day primer

Bid farewell to 2023 — here are events for all ages in the Bellingham area

Reactions vary as people enter and exit the chilly water of Lake Padden at the Padden Polar Dip on Jan. 1
Reactions vary as people enter and exit the chilly water of Lake Padden at the Padden Polar Dip on Jan. 1 (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
By Amy Kepferle Staff Reporter

As 2023 heads to the exit door and 2024 says “howdy,” a number of events for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are on the calendar. 

Some are for all ages, others are strictly for the 21-and-older crowd. For a list of music options, go here.

Fun for kids on New Year’s Eve

A New Year’s Eve Craft-A-Palooza for youth ages 9–13 will take place from 1:30–3:30 p.m. at the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. Attendees are invited to bring their creativity, and supplies and snacks will be provided. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. Info: bellinghampubliclibrary.org

Make kids feel like they’re part of the party by attending a New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop at 4 p.m. at Whatcom Museum’s Family Interactive Gallery in the Lightcatcher Building, 250 Flora St. Create crafty party hats in the art studio, then capture the moment in a photo booth. The FIG will be open from noon to 5 p.m. that day. Entry is included with $5–$10 admission. Info: whatcommuseum.org

All-ages action on New Year’s Eve 

Get some exercise while ringing in 2024 at a New Year’s Eve Bash starting at 6:30 p.m. at Volli Entertainment Center and Sports Bar, 4190 Cordata Pkwy. Join mixed doubles and cornhole tournaments, partake in games and contests, and possibly win prizes. Tickets are $20 for attendees 15 and younger and $35 for those 16-plus. Entry includes appetizers and a midnight toast. Info: vollibellingham.com

Kids and dogs are welcome at a New Year’s Eve Party happening from 7 p.m. to midnight at Stones Throw Brewery, 1009 Larrabee Ave. There will be live music, a food truck and two ball drops on the big screen in the taproom — one at 9 p.m. and again at midnight. Beer, cider, house-made ginger ale, mulled wine, champagne and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. Entry is free. Info: stonesthrowbrewery.com

At 7 p.m. sharp, friends and families can light flares along the shores of Birch Bay — from Birch Bay State Park to Birch Bay Village — for the annual Ring of Fire & Hope. A limited number of complimentary biodegradable flares will be available on a first-come, first-served basis (one flare per family). Info: birchbaywa.org


A Very Upfront New Year will include 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. shows at The Upfront Theatre, 207 Prospect St. The improvised performances will include revisiting the best shows and memories from the past year. Tickets are $16 for the 7 p.m. show, $22 for the 9 p.m. gig, and $28 for the late-nighter (includes a midnight champagne toast). The first two shows are all-ages, the third is 21-plus. Info: theupfront.com

photo  Bellingham Repertory Dance will join forces with the New Prospect Theatre for a joint New Year’s Eve fundraiser at the Prospect Street space. Karaoke, dancing and arts appreciation will be part of the festivities. (Photo courtesy of Bonnie Smerdon)  

Bellingham Repertory Dance and the New Prospect Theatre will join forces for a New Year’s Eve Fundraiser taking place from 8 p.m. to midnight at the performance venue at 207 Prospect St. Expect karaoke, plenty of dancing, delicious drinks and the warm feeling that comes with knowing you’re supporting the arts. Entry is $25 for adults. Tickets for youth are $10; they’ll be welcome until 10 p.m. Info: newprospecttheatre.org

Bellingham Country Dance Society will host a New Year’s Eve Contra Dance from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at Franklin Academy, 1509 E. Victor St. Seattle-based bands Indigo Bunting and The Electrodes will provide live tunes, and Isaac Banner will do the calling. Suggested donation is $15–$25 general, $10 for students. Bring a snack to share; non-alcoholic beverages will be provided for a midnight toast. Info: bellinghamcountrydance.org

New Year’s Eve for adults 

The Bellingham Firefighters Community Ball returns at 7 p.m. in the ballroom of the Hotel Leo. Read more about it from CDN contributor Jesse Stanton.

From 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Blaine’s Semiahoo Resort will host a New Year’s Eve Gala-xy event featuring a buffet dinner, dancing, live music from Dial Up, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, and a midnight champagne toast. Tickets to the galaxy-themed event are $50–$95. Info: eventbrite.com

Starting at 7 p.m., attend New Year’s Eve @ Culture Cafe, 210 E. Chestnut St. Tickets are $20 and include an open buffet, live music and a champagne toast. Additional beverages can be purchased separately. Info: eventbrite.com

Ring in the New Year 2024 happens from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Silver Reef Casino Resort, 4876 Haxton Way. KAFE 104.1 will help count down to the new year, and DJ Ray J will be spinning music designed to make you dance. Admission is free. Info: silverreefcasino.com

Attendees will want to arrive in costume for a New Year’s Eve Cosplay Party beginning at 6 p.m. at Fairhaven’s 1-Up Lounge, 1121 McKenzie Ave. A live Street Fighter 6 Tournament will kick off the festivities, then at 9 p.m., the photo area will open. Entry is $10 and includes a champagne toast. If you come in cosplay, get $1 off entry. Info: 1-uplounge.com

The sixth annual Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve Party begins at 10:30 p.m. at Galloway’s Cocktail Bar, 1200 10th St. Dress in your best Gatsby-themed attire and enjoy bubbles, handcrafted cocktails and tasty bites. For $160, reserve a VIP table for four and get a bottle of champagne, a charcuterie plate, house-made truffles and entries to win prizes. The Niche Bar and Cocktail Porch will be available for walk-in, open seating. Info: gallowayscocktail.bar

Plunge into 2024 

Bellingham: If you make it through New Year’s Eve with your wits intact, consider christening 2024 by attending the Resolution Run and Padden Polar Dip put on by the City of Bellingham. The outdoor event kicks off at 11 a.m. with a run (or walk) around the 2.6-mile trail at Lake Padden and, at noon, features a “refreshing dip” in the lake. Popcorn and warm beverages will be provided, and locker rooms will be open for changing. Costumes are encouraged. Entry is free and no registration is required. Info: cob.org

Birch Bay: At noon is the 41st annual Polar Bear Plunge happening in Birch Bay across the street from Beach Cat Brewing Company, 7876 Birch Bay Drive. A warming tent at Beach Cat will feature on-site registration and the sale of T-shirts and sweatshirts (can be pre-ordered). If you’re up for it, join RE Sources from 9–10:30 a.m. for a trash pickup on the beach. Info: birchbaychamber.com.

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