The excitement, sparkle, glamour, and glitter of New Year’s Eve has often been equated with drinking and the clink of champagne toasts. Island Rec has been proving alcohol isn’t necessary for fun, through their annual Community New Year’s Eve Celebration.
“This event is family-friendly focused, including all ages, and de-emphasizing alcohol as a way to celebrate the New Year,” said Lowell Jons, recreation specialist at Island Rec.
This year, the party will be held at the Mullis Center, from 7-9 p.m. on Dec. 31. The event is a potluck, so bring a sweet or savory snack to share. After over 10 years of hosting the event, Island Rec’s party has become an island tradition.
To mix things up for 2017, and perhaps encourage more teen involvement, a team of Friday Harbor High School students from members of both the Leos club, (the youth chapter of the Lions service club) and Key club, (the youth chapter of the Kiwanis service club) are organizing activities for youth.
A dancing area, crafts, and games — including the popular XBox and Wii, the classic Twister, and a cribbage tournament — will be provided by Island Rec. Hat decorating has become a crowd favorite. People love to ham it up for the hat parade, Jons said, so that will once again be a part of this year’s crafting projects.
Speaking of hamming it up, costumes from the San Juan Community Theatre will be at hand, near the photo booth, for those who like to dress up. Many repeat attendees may enjoy seeing themselves pop up in a slideshow of previous Island Rec New Year’s celebrations that will be set up.
The party will count down with New York City, and the event happening in Times Square will on in the background.
Last year, over 130 people attended the event, and Jons is hoping this year will be even bigger. His long-term goal is to increase the size of the celebration, perhaps even including fireworks, although Jons admits that would involve a change of venue. The Mullis Center does not have a good area for fireworks.
Jons said, after having the community event for so many years, it has been fun for him to watch kids grow up with the party as a tradition, and see them return as they get into their teenage years.
“There are activities for all ages,” he said, adding that even grandparents have been known to make an appearance.
“This party is a full family affair,” Jons said.
For more information about the community celebration, visit www.islandrec.org.