When another year starts to wind down, I inevitably get asked what my plans are for New Year's Eve. For almost every year for the last thirty years it has been the same answer, "Dude, the band's got a gig". With the exception of a few years, here or there, the Celtic Dragon Pipe Band has had the honor and privilege of performing in Missoula on New Year's Eve.

Missoula New Year's Eve Events Have Changed Over Three Decades

"First Night Missoula" started, amazingly, thirty years ago in 1993. Since then the event has gone trough some changes. It is no longer called "First Night Missoula" it is now called "Missoula On Main and Beyond'. I recently spoke with Nathan Poukish in the marketing and communications department of Arts Missoula about the upcoming event.

"Missoula On Main and Beyond" Celebrating It's Second Year

This will be the second year of "Missoula On Main and Beyond" and there are some changes from last year's events. There will be over 30 different events taking place. Some are ticketed and some are free. There will be no "Egg Drop" this year. Instead there is going to be something a little different.

We're not going to be closing down the street like we did last year. In its place, we are going to be doing a street art experience that is going to be in the parking lot right to the left of the Wren, like where Lashco is. We're going to be kind of taking over that big parking lot, that's going to run from 9:00 PM to midnight. 

This event will be part art exhibit using two Mazda cars from Young Mazda in Missoula. One is being decorated by local artist Mickey Haldi and another will be available for people to decorate with sayings to say "goodbye" to 2023.

Some Things Haven't Changed in Thirty Years

Some things haven't changed. There are still some amazing performances from the Missoula Symphony Showcase, The Drum Brothers, Salsa Loca, Rhythmos, the Spotlight Teen Singing Competition, Dancers and Kung Fu movies all day at the Roxy Theater. There will be performances at the ZACC, United Methodist Church, MCT, Headwaters Foundation, Janette Ranking Peace Center, Elks Club and the Missoula Public Library.

Missoula on Main and Beyond 2023
Credit: Arts Missoula

Saying Goodbye to 2023

To wrap up the night they will once again be ushering in the New Year with the "Midnight Masquerade Under the Stars" at the Elks Club, with the "Ed Norton Big Band" and a champagne toast at midnight, that will be a ticketed event.

For those that want a substance free New Year's Eve experience there is a family friendly masquerade ball at the United Methodist Church that will be free to attend from 8pm until midnight.

Tickets are on sale now at Missoulaonmain.org. Events of this size also need a lot people to help out and volunteer if you would like to volunteer you can sign up here.

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Gallery Credit: Chris Wolfe

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