3…2…1! Where to ring in 2018 in Southern Minnesota

December 31, 2017

Pop the cork, grab a party hat and a noise maker because it’s almost time to bid adieu to 2017. Whether you’re looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve out on the town or at home with your family, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of some unique events taking place in Southern Minnesota to help you ring in 2018. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy and be safe!

Kato Ballroom
The Kato Ballroom (200 Chestnut Street, Mankato) is hosting their 70th annual New Year’s Eve Party beginning at 6 p.m., Dec. 31 and continuing until 1 a.m., Jan. 1. The gala opens with an elegant buffet dinner in the banquet room. Following dinner, strap on your dancing shoes and get ready for Denny and the DC Drifters, who are set to wow the crowd with music of the 50s, 60s and 70s. The music plays from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

“At midnight, we ring in the new year with your typical New Year’s Eve style hats and noisemakers,” Kato Ballroom owner Tania Cordes said. “It’s honestly what your stereotypical New Year’s Eve party is like. People get dressed up, have a great meal and then dance the night away until the countdown at midnight.”

The cost for dinner is $18 per person, and the cost for just the dance is $19 in advance or $23 at the door. Find more information at katoballroom.com.

Casino Royale
If craps and blackjack are more your style than a classic gala, you’ll want to head to Bleu Duck Kitchen’s (14 4th Street Southwest, Rochester) inaugural Casino Royale New Year’s Eve party.

“We opened on Aug. 26, 2016, so this is our first New Year’s Eve party that we have thrown,” Bleu Duck Kitchen’s Jennifer Becker said. “We are a bit different than any other restaurant and we want to be known for creating a ‘wow’ factor. I know casino night has been done in the past, but it’s been a few years since someone has done it and done it well.”

Dinner begins at Bleu Duck at 6 p.m. and features a classic steak house-style dinner offering dry aged steaks, seafood and tableside service. From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., guests will enjoy a VIP lounge, professional casino and dealer’s, heated cigar bar lounge with a cigar roller, served champagne and hors d’oeuvres, ice cream bar featuring upcoming ice cream shop Chocolate Twist and a DJ to dance the new year in. New Year’s Eve party guests will be handed casino chips valued at $200 for casino playing, and any additional chip proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club. Prizes will be available for choosing based on winnings.

The Casino Royale New Year’s Eve event is $60 for an all-inclusive ticket that includes dinner, champagne, taxes and gratuity.

Visit bleuduckkitchen.com for more information.

Boxcar Bar
Scarlet Sky is helping play in 2018 at Boxcar Bar (202 E. Elm Ave., Waseca). The band has been entertaining crowds since 2015 with the likes of Lady Gaga, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fall Out Boy and Carrie Underwood.

“They are very energetic, fun and a bar favorite,” Todd Schmidt with Boxcar Bar said. “You won’t be sitting while they’re on stage. There’s lots of dancing and singing along.”

The band takes the stage at 9 p.m. Boxcar Bar is open daily at 8 a.m. with a happy hour running from 8-11 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.

Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery
Are you looking for a romantic and charming New Year’s Eve celebration? Then look no further than Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery (1179 East Perl Street, Kasota). Join sparkling winemaker Josie Boyle for a pairing dinner that features all sparkling wine. Tickets include a five course meal, sparkling wine pairings to complement each course and an evening in the Barrel Room.

Prices are $80 for the New Year’s Eve Wine Circle and $85 for general admission. Visit chankaskawines.com for more information.

Rochester Trolley and Tour Company
A wonderful event for the whole family, the Rochester Trolley and Tour Company is offering a holiday light tour every night in December, including New Year’s Eve.

Now in their seventh season, the Jolly Trolley Holiday Lights Tours last 75-90 minutes, and guests can choose between two light tours. Jolly Trolley “North” features fun, creative and family-oriented residential light displays of Rochester’s north residential neighborhoods. According to their website, the North tour is perfect for kids and families. The Jolly Trolley “South” tour embarks on the classical elegance and old world charm of Rochester’s south residential neighborhoods. This tour is best suited for adults and older children.

Both tours depart from Peace Plaza in front of the downtown Marriott Hotel, 101 1st Ave. SW. Tours run Monday through Friday until Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. (North tour) and 8 p.m. (South tour); and Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 31 at 5:30 p.m. (North tour) and 7:30 p.m. (South tour).

For more information, visit rochestermntours.com.

Stay home
If staying home with your significant other or as a family is more your style of celebrating the New Year, plan a night of popcorn, your favorite beverage and enjoy the comfort of your home on Dec. 31. Join Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen as they say goodbye to 2017 on New Year’s Eve Live, which you can watch on CNN, or catch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2018 with Ryan Seacrest on ABC.

To make your night even more special, blow up balloons and pop one each hour leading up to the ball drop at midnight. Place different notes inside each balloon that instruct everyone participating to share their favorite memory of the year, what they are looking forward to in 2018, something they want to accomplish in the year to come or a New Year’s resolution.


By Anna Vangsness

SouthernMinn Scene | editor@southernminnscene.com |
115 5th Street West Northfield, MN 55057