It should be a long, fun-filled weekend in the Flathead Valley as folks say goodbye to 2023 and welcome 2024. The below events info is not meant to be comprehensive, but it should help as you start, or continue, to plan your weekend. You can always check out flatheadevents.net to see for yourself what’s going on this weekend.
Before getting into the weekend’s events, it’s worth noting what’s in the weekend forecast, according to the National Weather Service in Missoula. Much of the valley is expected to see daily highs of 35 and nightly lows in the mid 20s on Saturday and Sunday with patchy and freezing fog possible. Fog may be dense at times, and drivers should reduce their speed, and be aware of the possibility of slick spots. Drivers should also use their low-beam headlights when driving through fog. Portions of northwest Montana could also see freezing rain Saturday evening, which could produce slick driving conditions. Forecasts change, so be sure to take a look at the latest before starting your night.
The Montana Highway Patrol, and other law enforcement agencies, have also increased DUI patrols for the season. As of early December, there had been 53 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Montana, and drugs were a factor in 24 different traffic deaths, according to MHP. Be sure to plan ahead and have a designated driver, or some other form of a safe ride, so that everyone can arrive home at the end of the night.
Saturday night, or the eve of New Year’s Eve as one could call it, will bring a number of events to the area, with many of them featuring live music. One highlight includes the second night of Montana bluegrass favorites The Lil Smokies playing with the Hannah King Duo at the Great Northern Bar in Whitefish starting at 9:30 p.m. Tickets for that show are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, with prices for the third show on New Year’s Eve jumping up to $50 in advance.
Elsewhere in Whitefish on Saturday night, the Gray Goo, a band with a self-described “proggy psychedelic doom funk fusion” sound, is playing at The Remington starting at 9 p.m. If you’re curious to learn more about the Gray Goo, pick up a copy of the new winter issue of Flathead Living, which includes a profile of the band.
Other live music on deck for Saturday night includes David and Michael at Sacred Waters Brewing starting at 5:30 p.m., Brent Jameson at the Firebrand Hotel starting at 6 p.m., Justin Harris at the Dusty Star Saloon starting at 6 p.m., John Dunnigan at the Lodge on Whitefish Lake Boat Club starting at 6 p.m., the Borderline Lucid Trio at the KM Bar starting at 7:30 p.m., Andrew Sweeny at Sunrift Beer in Kalispell starting at 8 p.m., funk-rock-jam band Pedacter Project at Gunsight Saloon starting at 9 p.m. and Whiskey Rose at the Blue Moon in Columbia Falls starting at 9:15 p.m. for the bar’s “Boots & Bling Party,” for which people are encouraged to wear their finest.
For something a little more out of the ordinary for a Flathead Valley weekend, Andy’s Crafthouse in Bigfork is hosting an evening of “Egyptian-Tribal fusion Bellydance,” from 7 to 9 p.m., featuring rose gin fizzes and specialty food platters with hummus, baba ghanoush, whipped feta, pita, olives and a choice of beef kebobs or vegetable tagine.
Woods Bay Wine in Bigfork is also planning a tasting event Saturday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. featuring sparkling wines from throughout Europe to help people settle in on the right bottle to celebrate the new year.
Meanwhile, Waters Edge Winery and Bistro in Kalispell is keeping its tradition alive of celebrating the new year with a murder-mystery party on Saturday night. This year’s party, called “A Killer New Year’s Eve,” will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and promises to immerse participants in a story “with twists and turns at every corner,” that will bring “a thrilling and unforgettable experience. Participants will also receive a special gift and there will be surprise wine perks throughout the night. Tickets are $55 in advance.
Heading into the weekend, Whitefish Mountain Resort is expecting it to be business as usual for its New Year’s Eve torchlight parade and fireworks. A full schedule can be found here, but in essence, spectators are encouraged to assemble at the bottom of Ed’s Run near Ed & Mully’s for the torchlight parade and fireworks, which are set to begin at 5:30 p.m. The party will pick back up at the Bierstube at 8 p.m. with a New Year’s Eve celebration featuring live music from DJ Nick Ferrington, a photobooth, free appetizers, drink specials and a champagne toast at midnight. Limited tickets are available for $30 per person, and can be purchased over the phone, online, or at the Bierstube.
The actual arrival of New Year’s Eve in the valley also coincides with a number of special dinners for the occasion. At Grouse Mountain Lodge, Logan’s Bar and Grill will be serving specials including firecracker calamari, shrimp cocktails, slow-roasted prime rib and cioppino.
Latitude 48 Bistro in Whitefish is also putting on a special New Year’s Eve dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The three-course meal includes prime rib and crème brulee, and reservations are required.
In Columbia Falls, Meadow Lake Resort is rolling out a special New Year’s Eve menu available from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., which includes New York strip steak with a brandy peppercorn sauce, Filet Oscar with a Maryland crab bearnaise, slow-roasted prime rib, Maryland crab cakes, blackened salmon with lemon dill cream, and fettuccini bison Bolognese. Reservations are suggested, but not required. The Lodge at Whitefish Lake is also serving dinner on New Year’s Eve, followed by live music from Brent Jameson from 9 p.m. until midnight, at which time there will be a ball drop and fireworks.
The Harbor Grille in Lakeside will be hosting its New Year’s Eve Luau Party starting at 6:30 p.m., with a ball drop at 10 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person, and the event will include bottomless champagne, a luau buffet, and live music from Angel & Davey starting at 7:30 p.m.
The Craggy Range in Whitefish is planning to open up its patio for New Year’s Eve and extend its hours until 1 a.m. The celebration will feature fire pits, beer pong, late night bites, music and a champagne cheers.
For people in the mood for more live music, the Lil Smokies (as mentioned above) will be playing their third night in a row with Hannah King at the Great Northern Bar in Whitefish starting at 9:30 p.m. Over at The Remington, DJ MC Escher will be playing music starting at 9 p.m.
Patriotic American Brewing is starting things off early with a 4 p.m. New Year’s Eve pre-game and “Redneck Prom,” which will include prizes for the people deemed king and queen. Starting at 5:30 p.m., Midnight Hot Sauce will be playing at Sacred Waters Brewing Company. At 7 p.m., White Raven Winery and Vineyard in Columbia Falls is kicking off its masquerade ball party, for which festive formal wear and masks are encouraged, but not required. Some eye masks will be available at the door, but supplies are limited. DJ Emil Rajkowski will be playing music, and the event will include a countdown to an East Coast ball drop at 9 p.m.
At 8 p.m., Lost Woodz Entertainment will launch its “Twisted Woodlands,” basement party at the Kalispell Eagles. The event includes electronic dance music through midnight, with seven different DJs scheduled throughout the night.
The Coop in Columbia Falls will start its 2024 Karat Gold New Year’s Eve party starting at 8 p.m. The party will run until 1 a.m., and tickets are $24. The party will include a champagne toast, “Gold Finger Jello Shots,” a photo booth, and DJ Bucky playing dance music.
Starting at 8:30 p.m., K’Niption Fit will be playing at the Buffalo Saloon in Bigfork. At 9:30 p.m. WildWind will perform at the Blue Moon in Columbia Falls.
Starting at 10 p.m., Surfbat and Free Drugs are playing at the Stillwater Bar in Olney. Also kicking off at 10 p.m. is the “Intergalactic Celebration,” at the second story at 101 Central (formerly Casey’s) in Whitefish. The party will go until 1 a.m., and promises to include a venue transformed into a “celestial wonderland, complete with mesmerizing lights, captivating decorations, and an electrifying atmosphere.” A midnight ball drop is planned, and DJs will be playing music. Attendees should dress to impress. Both futuristic outfits and celestially-inspired garb are encouraged. Ticket prices range from $80 to $350.
The Raven in Woods Bay is hosting its annual polar plunge, with doors opening at 11 a.m. and the plunge taking place at 2 p.m. Food and drink will be served. In the past, attendees have been encouraged to carpool and plan ahead by bringing warm clothes, towels, and shoes to wear after the jump. Historically, the plunge has taken place regardless of the weather.
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