Cities That Sparkle/New Year's Events

Put Some Michigan Sparkle into Your New Year. From Kalamazoo to Marquette, there’s no shortage of New Year’s Eve galas and lively street parties that culminate in an exciting countdown to a midnight ball drop.

lighted cherry ball drop at TVC new years eve event
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Just like Michiganders are willing to let out their adventurous side, many of our cities and towns let their unique side shine. Check out four only-in-Michigan celebrations where you can ring in the new year. 

CherryT Ball Drop – Traverse City

We may be far from cherry season, but it’s no wonder that the Cherry Capital of the World has a sweet celebration for New Year’s Eve. The party gathers in Traverse City at the corner of Front Street and Cass Street as spectators watch as a 600-pound illuminated cherry drops over the city followed by fireworks. In advance of the street party, local restaurants are taking reservations for special prix fixe dinners and drinks. If you can’t be there in person, watch live on Facebook via UpNorth Live to feel the excitement.

New Year’s Eve Anchor Drop at the Soo – Sault Ste. Marie

The Upper Peninsula city of Sault Ste. Marie is linked to Canada by the International Bridge and home to the famous Soo Locks that allow ships to sail between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. The anchor drop is a treasured tradition that symbolizes the city’s rich maritime culture and history. The anchor actually drops twice, once at 8 p.m. for younger spectators and again at midnight for late-night partiers. With special features like a hot chocolate station and a beer tent, this downtown event brings the whole community together for a fun and family-friendly time. 

Great Turtle Drop – Mackinac Island

Head to Main Street on Mackinac Island for a local tradition that you’ll never forget: the Great Turtle Drop! Weighing 70 pounds, this lit-up fiberglass turtle slowly ascends to great fanfare among year-round residents and winter visitors. What’s the story behind the turtle? Many Native Americans noted that the island resembles a domed turtle shell floating in the water. Coming from the original Native American name “Michilimackinac,” as it was interpreted by the French, “the Place of the Great Turtle” name dates back centuries.

Allegan Ball Drop – Allegan

OK, it’s a traditional New Year’s ball, but it’s a massive one! Party by the Allegan riverfront while warming up over fire pits, listening to live music and watching fireworks at midnight. The ball is Michigan’s biggest – measuring 10.5 feet in diameter and displaying more than 30,000 multicolored LED lights – and drops 25 feet from the top of the Allegan Event Z!P zip line tower.

Ready to plan your New Year’s Eve adventure? We have even more ideas for festive events right here.