Ludington’s biggest annual celebration takes place each winter on New Year’s Eve. Billed as “West Michigan’s largest New Year’s Eve Ball,” Ludington’s New Year’s Eve Ball Drop offers the quintessential, small-town New Year’s Eve celebration – complete with an outdoor beer garden and music, a ball drop with 6,000 LED lights in the heart of downtown, plus fireworks. Here are 5 ways to ring in 2016 here in Pure Ludington!
Evening activities begin with a countdown party at 9:30 p.m. when the entertainment tent opens for music, dancing and beer tasting. Then at midnight, the ball will drop from high above the intersection of James Street and Ludington Avenue at the core of downtown, which is open only to pedestrians that night. Once the clock strikes midnight, spectacular fireworks launch over the rooftops of downtown.
The New Year’s Eve event is free, though beer is available for purchase. Commemorative glasses will be sold for $8 in advance or $10 that evening.
2. Free Family Parties to Enjoy with Small Kids
The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop is a family-friendly event, but there are also some great pre-parties for families to enjoy before heading outside or for little ones who can’t stay awake until midnight. The Ludington Library hosts a pre-ball drop party beginning at 7pm for families and children of all ages. There are plenty of crafts and games to enjoy before walking over to the Ball Drop at 11:30pm. Sandcastle’s Children’s Museum, also located downtown, hosts a NYE Balloon Drop & Stomp for the kids! Both places offer a great place to stay warm and celebrate the New Year with your family.
3. New Year Resolution Run 5K
Looking to get a head start on your healthy New Year’s Resolution’s? New Year’s Day kicks off with a Resolution Run 5K at 11:00a.m. on 1/1/2016. The race route takes runners through downtown Ludington, along Lake Michigan and the waterfront. Online registration is open and includes a t-shirt.
4. “Shoe Years” Lantern-lit Skiing/Snowshoeing and Guided Snowshoe Hikes at Ludington State Park
A variety of nature trails in the Ludington area become excellent cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails in the winter – and one of the most popular places for a winter sojourn is at 5,300-acre Ludington State Park. On January 2, the Ludington State Park hosts their Guided Snowshoe Hike at 2pm. The 1.5-hour guided snowshoe hike highlights the park’s nature and history through the park’s snow-covered sand dunes. Then at 6pm, bring cross-country skis and/or snowshoes to ski or walk an easy, one-mile groomed trail lit by oil lanterns that begins at the Warming Shelter inside the park. Enjoy a campfire at either end to warm up and sip a hot beverage.
We hope you make a weekend of it and enjoy the beginnings of 2016 here in Pure Ludington!