You go whale watching, this guy goes people watching.

-Matthew’s Estate is throwing a Party before the Party early on New Year’s Eve. Head to the Woodinville winery on Saturday at 7pm for music, dancing, party hats and, of course, wine; it all ends at 10pm.

-At the annual Ring of Hope and Fire on the Birch Bay Shoreline, hundreds of people line the crescent-shaped beach with road flares, creating a “ring of fire” that symbolizes hope for the New Year. It starts at 7pm on Saturday. The next day at noon, the regular Polar Bear Plunge hosts participants who jump in the bay for a frigid swim.

-A New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball, brought to you by Bainbridge Performing Arts, is kicking off at 9pm on Saturday with swing dancing and then a DJ. Tickets are $50, and masks are available if you don’t have one handy.

-Whale watching in Long Beach is in full swing due to the southern migration of more than 18,000 gray whales. Volunteers are posted around the region from 10am–1pm through Sunday to help you look. Recommended viewing locales include the North Head Lighthouse and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Bring binoculars.

-Guided First Day Hikes are happening all over the country on Sunday to kick off the new year. Embark on an easy two-mile hike at Lake Sylvia State Park in Southwest Washington, where hot chocolate and snacks are provided. There’s also a walk in Deception Pass State Park and a snowshow trek in Squilchuck State Park. Kids are welcome, no experience is necessary, and snowshoes, where needed, are available to rent.

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