Where’s the Party?

New Year's Eve in Kingston

Happy New Year Kingstonist readers!  I hope you’ve all had a great holiday.  Harvey and I have enjoyed some much needed time off, and although I’ll miss these slow, lingering mornings, I’m looking forward to getting back into the groove on Monday.

So, let’s get right to it.  What did you do on New Year’s Eve?  Planning for December 31st has always been a little stressful.  When I was young, I remember spending many memorable NYE’s with my parents, watching Dick Clark, dancing in our livingroom and being allowed to stay up until midnight.  As I got older, the plans became more elaborate and friend focused.  There was always a party to go to and the desire to make it the “greatest night of the year” was always there.  When I got to university and my friends were scattered all over the country for NYE, the parties started to get a bit smaller.  In my adulthood, things have really tapered down.  There have been a few years when Harvey and I have had another couple or two over for dinner and some champagne at midnight, but since they’ve all started having babies, that has stopped too.  So we’ve made it a night just for us.  I mean, really, what choice do we have in Kingston?

A few days before the big night, I was going through our new events calendar and realized that I hadn’t received any press releases about New Year’s.  I took it upon myself to find out what was going on and then I figured out why I hadn’t received anything – nothing was happening.  OK, I shouldn’t say “nothing”, there was one event: a party at The KRock Centre put on by the City of Kingston.  OK, this could be a possibility – there’s free skating at least.  So I looked into what was happening at The KRock.  Wait, this can’t be right…fireworks are at 9pm?  As I went through the list of events I came to realize that this party was very strongly geared towards families.  The music was family oriented and, as I mentioned above, it all ended in time to get the kids to bed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I live in a town that has a focus on families and respect for its residents (I can only assume this is why the fireworks are so early) but I wonder what those of us without children (or with babysitters) and wanting to celebrate with the community can do on a special night like this.   Where’s our party?  The bars in town were open but there was little live music to be heard and most places were just doing their regular thing.  I want glitter damn it!  I would have paid to buy an advance ticket somewhere to go to a party that included live music, dancing, maybe some food and a glass of champagne at midnight.  NYE is the perfect night for a special Soul Shakedown or a concert at the Basin that goes until midnight ending with fireworks.  I mean, I know we’re not New York City, but looking at other events held in the dead of winter, I think Kingstonians would go.  There is such a strong sense of community in this city, it would be great to share that feeling by ringing in the new year together.

I think many of the young and/or childless in Kingston go elsewhere to find the party.  I’m guilty of it myself.  There have been a few years where Harvey and I have bought tickets to events happening in Ottawa or other big cities nearby.  But for once, I just want to be able to stay here and have the same experience.  I know we have the resources.  But I guess the party planners and production companies need a night off too…

Maybe I’m just out of the loop.  What did you do for New Year’s Eve?  Do you have kids or are you in, what seems to be in Kingston, the same strange limbo as me?  Either way, I did have a nice New Year.  I spent it with my best friend and had an excellent meal (more on that later).  I’d just like a chance to share this special night with my community too.

Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

2 thoughts on “Where’s the Party?

  • There's nothing to do in Kingston for New Year's. So I just stayed home. Last year I worked midnight shift till 7am on NYE so being home was better than that.

    I'm betting bars don't go all out for a reason you pointed out, all the college/university students are gone. They see a big chunk of the bar crowd that is not here so they don't feel like trying. Vicious circle, the bars don't think they can attract a lot of people so become lazy. People who do want to do something leave town and take their money elsewhere or stay home. The bars don't see a big jump in business on NYE….. lather, rinse, repeat.

    When I was a little kid it was staying up to midnight that was the big deal. A firework display is nice, but if it's 3 hours before the year changes, I don't see the point. Take out the kids, go home and still have to deal with them trying to stay up to 12am. Strange idea.

  • Watching the fireworks displays and massive countdown parties in other cities, I really wish that we could pull something similar off here in Kingston. What’s stopping us, aside from the absence of the student crowd? Pushing things like fireworks and skating to the right would be easy enough, but would the crowds make it to the stroke of midnight? In the end, if the majority are happier with early activites, then ringing in the New Year at home, things aren’t likely to change any time soon.

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