New Year’s Eve: 7 places to ring in 2018

Dec 27 2017

From time-honored First Night celebrations to dinner and dancing parties around the region to ringing in the New Year at Connecticut’s two popular casinos, there will be plenty to do on the last day of the year.

While for some countries around the world like Australia, their New Year’s Eve reveling will be long over, Western Massachusetts and the rest of the United States will just be beginning their celebrations on Sunday.

From time-honored First Night celebrations to dinner and dancing parties around the region to ringing in the New Year at Connecticut’s two popular casinos, there will be plenty to do on the last day of the year- both day and night – to welcome in 2018.

Events include:

First Night in Northampton – From the time the clock strikes noon until 12 hours later at midnight when 2018 officially arrives, First Night Northampton offers young and old alike a family-friendly festival of the arts culminating in a traditional ball-raising from the roof of the Hotel Northampton at midnight.

This year’s celebration – spread over 20 downtown venues with hundreds of performers of all talents for kids and adults – is presented by Northampton Arts Council and PeoplesBank.

“It just makes sense to have a family-friendly, 12-hour celebration of the arts to ring in the New Year,” said Brian Foote, executive director of the Northampton Arts Council.

“The artistic community is so strong and there is so much talent in the Pioneer Valley to be enjoyed, and downtown Northampton is beautiful in the winter and easy to navigate around,” he added.

It’s the Council’s first time overseeing First Night Northampton – now in its 33rd year – after taking over the reigns from Northampton Center for the Arts.

All the fun begins at noon at the Academy of Music with two performances of SHOW Circus Studio’s thrilling spectacle “First Night Galaxy of Stars.” Also, presented at noon and 1 p.m., Paintbox Theatre will perform at Theatre 14. There’s also a double feature of Yo-Yo Astronaut, as well as Mad Science of Western New England in the 3-4 p.m. timeslot at John M. Greene Hall.

An afternoon of jugglers, magicians, dancers, puppets, a cappella voices plus classical and contemporary music from solo to quintet, acoustic to electric fills the entertainment schedule. Among the highlights include an opportunity to jam with Dr. Marmalade at Forbes Library or sing along with the Nields at their family show in First Churches Sanctuary. The Valley Light Opera will also make a fourth First Night appearance with two performances of “Trial by Jury” at 3 and 4 pm at Theatre 14.

Fireworks will light the night’s sky at 6:15 p.m. from atop the central parking garage, signaling the start of an evening’s worth of entertainment. The eclectic lineup includes back-to-back performances by area favorites the Northamptones at the Academy, as well as a single show featuring Heather Maloney. For those in the mood for dancing, there will be rockabilly stompers L’il BeeDee & the Doo-Rites at the World War II Club, while those who want to just sit and be entertained, The Fawns will make two appearances at The Parlor Room. Also, Evelyn Harris and Jerry Noble will jazz up the night at First Churches, and those in the mood for “Nashville meets Brooklyn” can find Miss Tess and the Talkbacks at Edwards Church.

As midnight approaches, the party moves to the Hotel Northampton for the iconic raising of the ball Northampton-style, as opposed to the thousands of people crowded into Times Square in New York City to see the ball “drop.” D.J. Trumpy from Hits 94.3 will spin up-beat tunes to get the final party started as the “count-up” begins to say goodbye to 2017.

A single button opens the doors to every event at every venue. Buttons are good all day and evening. Cost is $16 for adults if purchased by December 30, $20 on the day of the event. Seniors 65+ are $10 and kids 2-10 are $8. There is also a $10 Adult Day Only button that is good until 6 p.m. Kids under 2 are free. Buttons can be purchased online or at area sales vendors listed at The First Night website includes a complete schedule of events and details about each performance.


First Night Jr. in Holyoke – “Not every child can ring in the New Year in the evening with their parents. That’s why we start our celebration early at 10 a.m. and welcome in the New Year early with a ball drop at 3:45 p.m.,” said Kathy Smith, manager, Holyoke Merry-Go-Round, one of several participants in the 21st Annual First Night Jr. at Holyoke Heritage State Park. The popular event is held both indoors and outdoors alongside unlimited rides on the Merry-Go-Round, admission to the Children’s Museum and Volleyball Hall of Fame, as well as activities in the Visitor’s Center. Beginning at 10 a.m. at the Merry-Go-Round, young revelers can enjoy Glitter Tattoos with Joelle Crosby, face painting, meet the Trolls characters, and visit with Moana, Belle and Spiderman. The Trolls and Moana, Belle and Spiderman will also make and appearance at the Children’s Museum, where there will be face painting by Wicked Fun Faces. The fun continues at the Visitor’s Center featuring performances by Forest Park’s Zoo on the Go, Mad Science, and the musical sounds of Roger Tincknell. There will also be crafts at the Volleyball Hall of Fame. The fun nears an end at 3:45 p.m. when Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse will oversee a ball drop to ring in 2018, albeit a little early, with musical accompaniment by the Holyoke High School Marching Band. Other attractions include watching ice sculpture artist Mike Rondeau at work in the park beginning at 11:30 a.m. and a special appearance by Lewis the Duck. Tickets – available on the day of the event or in advance at the Children’s Museum and Merry-Go-Round – are $8 per person and those under 12 months are free. Admission includes all performances. Updates are available at or Knights of Columbus in Chicopee – The Fairview Knights of Columbus Council 4044 will host a New Year’s Eve dinner dance, show and casino beginning at 6 p.m. Live entertainment includes performances by Noah Lis and Amber Carrington, both of whom have performed on the popular NBC reality show “The Voice,” as well as David Colucci. There will also be a casino with roulette tables, a cash wheel and other games and raffles. Tickets to the event are $65 per person and will be sold on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6-8 p.m. in the members’ lounge at 1599 Memorial Drive in Chicopee. For more information, call Don at 413-534-4749 or visit

Chez Josef in Agawam offers fun seekers the opportunity to ring in the New Year in style with cuisine from around the globe at their international stations. Tickets are $65 and include live entertainment and dancing to the Floyd Patterson Band.

East Mountain Country Club in Westfield is throwing a New Year’s Eve party and buffet dinner with dancing all night long to the sounds of Luis’ Dancing Machine. Priced at $40 per person, the event also includes party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are available online at or by calling Brenda at 413-374-3434 or the Pro Shop at 413-568-1539. Mohegan Sun Casino  in Uncasville will celebrate the start of the New Year with parties, music, shows and more, including a performance by singer-songwriter Robin Thicke in the Mohegan Sun Arena at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39. Comedian Paul Mecurio will perform at Comix Comedy Club at 7:30 and 10 p.m. For those who want to party into the New Year, there will be a big celebration starting at 10:30 p.m. in the Uncas Ballroom where party-goers can enjoy an open bar, champagne toast at midnight, breakfast buffet, dancing and music by NYC’s DJ PS1. This will be a club-style atmosphere and no seating will be available. Tickets are $125 until 2 p.m. on Dec. 31, then $150. There will also be partying at The Shops concourse from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. with hats, horns and tiaras. Music will be provided by DJae Melee. A piano player will be in the hotel lobby for entertainment from 4-8 p.m., along with high energy performances by The Jat Crew Dancers and other entertainment along with a pyrotechnic display at midnight. For a complete list of events at various other venues and prices, visit

Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., is calling their New Year’s Eve festivities “Midnight Magic 2018,” featuring parties property-wide, including live entertainment at The Celebration Zone, Live@Atrium and Centrale. There are also events at High Rollers, Shrine, Hard Rock, and at the Scorpion Bar. The Grand Theater will host a performance by the B-52s at 9 p.m. with tickets priced at $55. There will also be a balloon drop at midnight in the Grand Pequot Rotunda. For a complete list of events and prices, visit



Oct 2018