Say goodbye to 2017: Ring in 2018 with dancing, kindness and a chilly dip

Juneauites will ring in 2018 at a bevy of concerts and events around Juneau. Here’s a breakdown of every event we could track down on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.


Block Party at the wharf

The whole Merchants Wharf building will be bursting with music and dancing for the Hangar’s New Year’s Eve Block Party, where three DJs will play until 2 a.m., a famous television actress and DJ among them.

This year’s special guest at the Block Party is DJ Taryn Manning, an actress and DJ known for her role on the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black” and her Billboard No. 1 dance hit “Glitch life.”

Manning and DJ Shasta will play in the Hangar Ballroom. The Flight Deck restaurant will be open with local DJ Quelz playing with a guest appearance by rapper Manner. A third DJ and another local, DJ Manu, will play at the Hangar restaurant.

Manning was busy filming the new season of “Orange is the New Black” in New York and couldn’t be reached, Hangar marketing director Charlie Herrington said.

DJ SHASTA, an artist who spent her summers in Juneau growing up, explained via text message that the New Year’s Eve lineup came about organically as the Manning, herself and Hangar on the Wharf owner Reecia Wilson hung out at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival last year.

“Taryn and SLS Event Group, my company, have worked on several projects together and we have become great friends over the years,” Sowers wrote. “We are excited to give Taryn a true SE Alaskan experience.”

Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and close at 2 a.m. Tickets cost $10. Five bars will be open throughout the Wharf at the 21 and older event, Herrington said.

Free champagne will be passed out at midnight accompanied by a balloon drop as the calendar turns to 2018.

Swing in the New Year

While the Wharf will offer electronic dance music and hip-hop, the Juneau Arts and Culture Center will host big band and swing music on New Year’s Eve.

The Juneau Big Band and Gamble and the High Cost of living will play live music at the JACC from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The evening will progress as a loose musical digest of the 20th century, Juneau Jazz &Classics Executive Director Reggie Schapp said.

“We’re gonna start out with swing music from the ’30s ’40s and ’50s,” with the Juneau Big Band, “and merge into rock and roll from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s,” with Gamble and the High Costa Living, Schapp said.

The Juneau Big Band will play from 9-11 p.m. while Gamble and the High Costa Living will close the night out from 11 p.m.-1 a.m.

“We’re setting up two stages so there won’t be a break in music,” Schapp said.

Those who need to brush up on their swing dancing can come early to the dance for a free lesson at 8 p.m.

Reserve seats are $45 while general admission is $35. Tickets are available at Hearthside Books and at the door. They include a dessert, hors d’oeuvre and a champagne toast at midnight.

Year of Kindness year-end celebration

Juneau’s first Year of Kindness (YOK) will celebrate 52 weeks of community building at Thunder Mountain High School 1-5 p.m.

In an interview at the Empire building Friday, YOK steering committee’s Carol Kell invited Juneauites to “stop by on your way to 2018.”

“I think we’re going to have a turnout … We’re gonna have cider and popcorn, Native drumming, the pride choir is going to come,” Kell said, adding, “we’ve resisted calling it a wrap-up because kindness isn’t over.”

YOK will continue next year but it will be taken over by a group called Raising Our Children with Kindness (ROCK), Kell said.

To kick off YOK last year, community members wrote wishes and messages onto paper and burned them in a fire at a Sandy Beach celebration. At the year-end celebration today, community members will be asked to write wishes, messages and thoughts on dissolving paper, then put them in water and watch them disappear.

New Year’s Eve barn dance

St. Ann’s Parish Hall on 5th street downtown will host a special New Year’s Eve version of their popular barn dance from 7:30-11 p.m. today.

The dance will feature live music by Jim and Martha Stey and their band “Happy to be here.” Odette Edgar and Tom Paul will teach and call contra and square dances. No experience or partners are necessary.

Entry for adults costs $8 while those 25 and under pay $5. Jesuit and Americorps volunteers, as well as those 12 and under, get in free.

Sugar Shack at the Alaskan Hotel

The Alaskan Hotel and Bar will offer live music from Sugar Shack on New Year’s Eve from 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

Admission is free and those who show up are encouraged to bring their dancing feet.

26th annual Polar Bear Dip

Face the new year with an icy and sobering traditional dip into the water at Auke Recreation Area at 1-2 p.m. Juneauites have been braving the cold water for the annual Polar Bear Dip now for 26 years.

The event is free. Participants should allow time for parking, wear and suit and bring a towel, warm clothing and foot protection.

First Day Hike

Take an easy, guided walk on the Airport Dike Trail for the Alaska State Park’s First Day initiative. Last year nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year at hikes across the country as part of the event.

The 3-mile loop hike on Airport Dike Trail starts at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 1. Hikers are asked to meet in the parking lot. All ages and ability levels are invited as well as well-behaved dogs on leashes. Hikers are asked to bring snacks, water and weather appropriate clothing.

Call Christy at (907) 854-8766 for more information.

• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


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