Before you know it, 2017 will be a thing of the past. No matter how this year treated you, there’s reason to celebrate its coming to an end and to see your way into 2018 in style. Whether it’s fine dining, a rocking live show, a raucous bar night or a dip in frigid water, the Flathead Valley has plenty to offer at the year’s end.
Here are some of the highlights, and don’t forget to check www.flatheadevents.net for updates and a more complete list of New Year’s Eve festivities.
If navigating a crowded bar and dodging rowdy revelers is a thing of your past — or never was your thing at all — the Red Lion Hotel is once again serving a luxurious meal, complete with a champagne toast at midnight.
The night begins at 6:30 p.m., and the highlight is a multi-course dinner that includes Canadian lobster tail, slow-roasted prime rib, potatoes, roasted vegetables and dessert. Drawings, games and music are on tap after dinner, capped by a little bubbly to greet 2018. Tickets are $75 per person, and the hotel is also offering discount room rates for those guests who want to spend the night. A kids meal is also available if the little ones are tagging along.
Reserve a spot for dinner by calling the Red Lion at (406) 751-5050.
Elsewhere, they won’t be serving lobster tail at the Kalispell VFW, but they will have local rockers The Lucitones playing live. The show is free and includes a number of supporting acts, with the music set to begin at 9:30 p.m. Live music can also be found at the Kalispell Eagles Club and Scotty’s Bar.
The Whitefish Mountain Resort is always a hot spot on New Year’s Eve, and this year is no different with the annual rail jam, torchlight parade, fireworks show and party scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
Skiers and snowboarders will ride rails on the mountain’s custom-built venue at the rail jam, vying for a $1,000 cash purse. Shortly after the competition ends, the torchlight parade starts to make its way down the mountain. Those interested in joining the parade must sign up at the bottom of Chair 2 before 5:45 p.m. The parade is set to begin at around 6:30 with the fireworks show shortly thereafter.
The night then moves indoors, where Brent Jameson and the Sordid Seeds will play at Ed & Mully’s beginning at 6:45 p.m. At 9:30 p.m. at the Bierstube, local funk from 20 Grand will take the crowd all the way to midnight. Tickets to see 20 Grand at the Bierstube are $30 and can be purchased in advance — not a bad idea since the show typically sells out early.
For more information, visit www.skiwhitefish.com.
If you’re more altitude-averse, back in downtown Whitefish there is live music at Great Northern Bar (The New Wave Time Trippers), The Remington (The One in Olney Band) and Craggy Range (The Flip Wilsons), among others. Check www.flatheadevents.net for more.
On the shores of Bigfork Bay, New Year’s Eve brings out the costumes. Marina Cay Resort’s annual Masquerade Party starts at 7 p.m. and is highlighted by live music from Gladys Friday.
Attendees will have to pay a $20 cover charge, but that includes the music, hors d’ouvres and a midnight champagne toast.
For more information, call Marina Cay at (406) 837-5861.
And if you want to get your night started even earlier, Whistling Andy Distilling is hosting a New Year’s party from 5-8 p.m. The event includes live music, food and, of course, handcrafted cocktails made from Whistling Andy’s full line of spirits.
The next day, shake off the cobwebs from the night before with a refreshing soak in Flathead Lake. The 23rd annual Polar Plunge at The Raven in Woods Bay is the easiest way to make an early splash in 2018. The Raven opens at 10 a.m., so there is time for some liquid courage before hitting the lake at 2 p.m. Car-pooling is recommended as parking is fairly limited.
A Winter’s Dance is this year’s New Year’s theme at the North Valley Eagles Club in Columbia Falls. The night kicks off at 8 p.m. and, if you’re looking for a good deal, is pretty tough to beat. Attendees get a meal, gift bag and midnight toast, and all of that is free. Music begins at 9. For more information, call (406) 892-4081.
The Silver Bullet is also no-cover on New Year’s Eve, with a DJ spinning tunes starting at 9 p.m.