Guests greet the new year at a past event. There are several parties adults can attend, including the Motown Countdown, the Resolution Ball and more.

Guests greet the new year at a past event. There are several parties adults can attend, including the Motown Countdown, the Resolution Ball and more.

Photo provided by Regina Stocco, of The Social Connection

Downtowns count down to a new year

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published December 22, 2017

METRO DETROIT — On Dec. 31, what will you be doing? Toasting to a great year gone by, or celebrating the arrival of a new start?

How about taking advantage of an excuse to have one — or more — glasses of bubbly?

No matter. New Year’s Eve is just days away, and there are plenty of places besides your sofa to ring in 2018 with a bang. 

The main event is no doubt the annual Motor City NYE Drop, to be held for the first time this year in Detroit’s Beacon Park. Event producer Regina Stocco said the move was made to accommodate growing crowds that are expected to be too big for the old spot in Campus Martius Park. 

“The location has been very popular since the grand opening and has become Detroit’s favorite new (public) space,” she said. “We estimate 35,000 attended last year’s event at Campus Martius Park, and after coordinating with city officials, reviewing road closure options and the upcoming construction footprint of the area, we’ve selected Beacon Park as the home for the 2018 event.”

Things get started early for the younger set, at 4 p.m., when the free Kids Zone opens with balloon artists, bounce houses, face painting, a youth choir and other family-friendly activities. Kiddos will get their own ball drop at 6:30 p.m.

Once the sitter takes over for the night, adults can rejoin the party at 8 p.m., when the Motown Countdown and Celebration starts, with dance floors, champagne stations, a fully stocked bar and more VIP surprises. Ticket prices start at $60 and include late-night munchies after the clock strikes midnight. The Celebration is a more casual environment, with jeans and sneakers welcome, while the Motown Countdown is dress-to-impress event.

But the main event, no doubt, is the “D” Drop itself, when a glowing 7-foot-tall D drops down as the countdown to New Year’s Day wanes. Live music from the Motown Memories Band, the Detroit Funk Band, the Motor City All Stars Band and Danielle Bahoora, from NBC’s “The Voice,” will take the stage throughout the evening, capped off by a special performance by Motown legend Martha Reeves, set to perform her smash hit “Dancing in the Street.” She’ll be joined later by Detroit singer Angela Davis for their own rendition of “Light Up Detroit” to kick off the countdown.

“Downtown Detroit will again be alive this New Year’s Eve,” Helen Johnson, vice president of event sponsor Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund, said in a press release. “Motor City NYE is a great way for Detroiters and visitors to ring in the new year. From kid-friendly activities and shopping to counting in the new year with champagne and loved ones — this event has it all.”

Over in downtown Mount Clemens, families will be coming from as far as Toronto to attend the New Year’s Eve in Never-Never Land party, according to Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority Director Michelle Weiss. The events start at 4 p.m. for families with kids of all ages, and as the night goes on, the scene transforms into an adult-centric bash.

“We started doing this about six years ago when we heard from a lot of parents that there just weren’t a lot of options for kids on New Year’s Eve. Usually parents go out and the kids go to grandma’s, and she orders a pizza and rents a video,” Weiss said. “So families are always thanking us; they’re so appreciative.”

When guests arrive downtown, they enter Never-Never Land, with pirates dashing about town interacting with kids, magic shows at the Masonic Lodge, pony rides, a petting zoo, movies, crafts, storytime and plenty more. The party wraps up at 9 p.m. with a kids’ ball drop and fireworks show.

“Then kids can go home, and they’re exhausted because they’ve been having fun all day, and the parents can come back and have their own party,” Weiss said.

At 9:30 p.m., the adult gala begins with live music from 3 Peace, a 50-50 raffle and of course a ball drop and fireworks show at midnight.

“And once the clock strikes 12:00, of course we let the bicentennial celebration begin, because in 2018 we’ll be celebrating our 200th birthday,” Weiss added.

For a full list of events and locations, visit and