Celebrate New Year’s 2016 safely with a party hosted by Island Rec

A photo booth and hat making contest are some popular activities at the New Year's Event

Another year has gone by, which means it’s time to ring in 2016 with celebration and resolutions.

According to San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs, New Year’s Eve on San Juan Island isn’t the holiday with the most drunk driving infractions, which he attributes to party goers being aware that the sheriff’s department is out and about that night to make sure the roads are safe.

Krebs said in years past he’s had to hang around the Friday Harbor bars to make sure that those who are inebriated find a safe way home.

“Our New Year’s Eve oddly enough doesn’t seem to be what it is on the mainland,” Krebs said. “New Year’s seems to be one of the best holidays as far as drinking goes. I think it’s because we have our entire department out in force.”

Krebs said that St. Patrick’s Day and Fourth of July rank at the top of holidays with drunk driving. But unlike those days,winter holidays couple impaired driving with dangerous weather road conditions.

“Don’t put yourself at risk,” Krebs said. “Set up a designated driver ahead of time or contact a taxi if you need one.”

An alternative to the usual drinking and revelling is Island Rec’s New Year’s Eve Community Celebration.

This year at the Mullis Center, the celebration features a plethora of activities: board games, a Wii station, crafts,dancing, a photo booth, twister, bingo, chess, backgammon, and a hat making parade and contest.

According to Lowell Jons, recreation specialist for the youth, teen and family programs at Island Rec, the annual party has been going on since at least 2004, and was assisted with funds from the Prevention Coalition until 2013. Since then Island Rec has put on the event solo, with a number of volunteers.

“The impetus was to provide an all ages, alcohol-free community event for a traditionally alcohol dependent night,”Jons said.

Around 150 people usually come to the event, and last year they introduced an outdoor fire pit, which they will continue this year.

Jons said the bingo games and hat making contest as well as the Wii games and photo booth are all major hits, and this year they are requesting people bring dishes potluck-style, either sweet or savory.

The all-ages event goes from 7-9 p.m. at the Mullis Center on Dec. 31.

For more information, contact Lowell Jons at 378-4953.