New Year’s Eve

Out with the old

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I don’t know what phrases you plan to employ when it comes time to sum up 2017, but for many of us, words like “dumpster fire” and “unholy hellscape,” and “good god, what was that?” are the ones that come readily to mind.

Suffice it so say, it’s been a rough one.

Maybe that has you wanting to burrow under a pile of blankets, be very still, hide out and hope that what remains of this year can’t find you, but I’d like to encourage you to try out a different strategy.

I think we should all don our party duds, dig out our noisemakers and do a little celebrating. After all, we made it to the bitter end of the bitterest of years and if we’re going to face whatever 2018 has in store, a last gasp of a good time is not the worst way to end something old and begin anew. Think of New Year’s Eve as being some sort of existential palate cleanser, and give it the sendoff it probably doesn’t deserve before hunkering down and making good on those resolutions. It never hurts to be a little bad before becoming virtuous, and what follows are some suggestions for making the most of the final party of this cursed year.

One sad casualty of 2017 is a beloved Bellingham musical institution, the Green Frog. For more than a dozen years, Green Frog owner James Hardesty has been packing his tiny venue with an extraordinary amount of truly superior music—with shows often happening there seven days a week—but after the last notes of Baby Cakes’ final song on New Year’s Eve (which will have become New Year’s Day by then) fade into the night, the Frog will fall silent forever. Hardesty made the tough decision to pull the plug on his labor of love only recently, and the loss of the Green Frog will resonate not just within our music scene, but also far beyond it, as the traveling musicians who have come to regard the bar as their Bellingham home will have to find another venue in which to play—or might just pass our town by altogether. But before that happens, Baby Cakes will kiss both 2017 and the Green Frog goodbye as only they can with back-to-back New Year’s Eve shows. The first begins at 7pm and is all-ages—and kids 10 and younger get in for free—so parents who have not yet lined up babysitters can still get in on the action. Following that will be an adults-only show, and along with all of the farewells that will be said, the show will also act as Baby Cakes’ second anniversary, which is definitely something worth celebrating.
Where: 1015 N. State St. Cost: Free-$20 Info:

The Times Square ball drop might be one of the more well-known New Year’s Eve traditions the world over, but for my money, that glowing orb’s got nothing on the lighted keg that Boundary Bay Brewery lowers at the stroke of midnight every year. Sure, you could stay home and have Boundary deliver their award-winning beers right to your front door—certainly a tempting notion—but nothing beats the kind of community camaraderie that comes part and parcel with any celebration that takes place at Bellingham’s unofficial holiday hub. This year, they’re taking the party in a new direction, with a cowboy-themed New Year’s Eve Bash. Representatives from Lynden Line Dancers will be on hand to teach you some fancy footwork, and the bar and taproom will be transformed into a line-dancing hall where you can stomp out 2017 in satisfying rhythmic fashion. Hungry? Take a break and feast on a barbecue-themed meal. And if you find yourself working up a thirst, Boundary’s friendly and knowledgeable beertenders will be behind the bar, pulling pints and slinging suds.
Where: 1107 Railroad Ave. Cost: $35-$60 Info:

For people who like to ring in the New Year on the Southside, a good party can be hard to find. Not so much this year, thanks to Lovitt Restaurant. Newcomers to the live music game, Lovitt is putting their expansive space to good use, welcoming a varied roster of talented local and regional musicians. Their New Year’s Eve party will come a top-notch soundtrack of jazz, courtesy of the Julian MacDonough Trio, who will get things started at 8:30pm and play through clear until next year. And Lovitt isn’t limiting their audience to adult music fans—their event is all-ages and family-friendly, and their regular and late-night menus of locally sourced foodstuffs will also be available for those who are feeling peckish. Make reservations and make a night of it.
Where: 1114 Harris Ave. Cost: $10 Info:

The Wild Buffalo is never a place that does things halfway, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. An argument could be made that the Buff should let 2017 go quietly into the night so that we can get down to the very important business of erasing the year from our memories, but that’s not their style. Instead, the party is bigger than ever this year, with Portland’s perennially popular MarchFourth Marching Band showing up with their antics and acrobatics to give 2017 a solid kick in the teeth before showing it the door. The first time I saw MarchFourth play, they were actually marching through the streets (they really are a marching band, after all), and I was entranced immediately. I have remained so ever since. I can think of no better way to put 2017 in its place while giving 2018 a proper welcome than with the talented and irreverent scamps of MarchFourth. Somehow, this show has not yet sold out, but I do not expect that to remain the case for too much longer. Treat yourself to a ticket. After all you’ve been through this year, you more than deserve it.
Where: 208 W. Holly St. Cost: $25 Info:

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