Guest City Notebook: Free Anchorage NYE moments not to miss

By Gretchen Fauske

The biggest party of the year is in downtown Anchorage on New Years Eve. Approximately 7,000 – 10,000 people gather around Town Square on December 31st to ring in the New Year and enjoy the festivities (kicking off at 5:00 PM). Opportunities for all ages entertainment include live music from I Love Robots and Big Fat Buddha, beats by DJ GRE, light shows, two beer gardens hosted by Humpy’s Bar and the Avenue Bar featuring celebratory libations for the 21 and over crowd, classic carnival games and hot cocoa for the kiddos, food trucks, and FIREWORKS! It’s a fantastically fun (and FREE!) way to spend your New Year’s Eve.

These are my can’t miss moments:

  1. More than 1,200 pounds of fireworks detonating directly overhead!  Fireworks are launched in front of the Whale Wall on E Street, which means that if you’re partying in Town Square or any of the surrounding buildings you’ll have a front row seat for a spectacular show (I’ve been told it’s going to be bigger, brighter, and better than ever before!). The fireworks start at 8:00 PM.
  2. A menagerie… with a MINI HORSE!
Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 10.30.23 AM
Credit: Jessica Spengler via Flickr

Lambs, pigs, and ducks – oh my! The goats and a calf are pretty darn cute too. Swing by 5th Ave between E & F Street until 7pm for a dose of sweet baby animal love.

3. Spotting a fictional English spy

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Credit: 007Now


Rumor has it that a James Bond look-a-like of the Daniel Craig variety will be pre-partying at Town Square before he heads over to the License to Thrill party at the Sheraton (think he’ll make a Spectre of himself?). Faux celebrity spotting is always fun and seriously, can you tell the difference? Might as well snag a selfie with 007 (if you can find him, that is!)

4. FIRE! 

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Credit: Anchorage Downtown Partnership

Not just fireworks: fire dancing, fire throwing, and fire juggling. Nothing lights up the night like a bit of flame being thrown about! Bask in the glow while you marvel at the artistry – with a dash of daredevilry – on display.

I hope you enjoy the party! Cheers to a happy New Year, and see you all in 2016!

For more information about the New Year’s Eve Celebration, visit www.AnchorageDowntown.Org. And if you’re still looking for the perfect way to spend New Year’s Eve, Alaska Dispatch pulled together a roundup of events happening around town. Cheers!

Gretchen Fauske blogs at GretchenLovesAnchorage and volunteers for the Anchorage Downtown Partnership. She spent her childhood NYEs competing with her brother to see who could stand barefoot in the snow the longest while holding a sparkler.