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Where to ring in 2021, bid farewell to a crazy 2020 in Pocatello

Business & Money

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COVID Masks made by the staff at Club Charley’s in Pocatello. The masks will be given away at the door during the club’s New Year’s Eve “Mask-erade” | Photo courtesy of Jon Peirsol, Club Charley’s

POCATELLO — The COVID-19 pandemic has impact almost every opportunity Idahoans have had to celebrate in 2020.

Independence Day was without massive barbecues. Halloween lacked thickets of trick-or-treaters in the streets. Thanksgiving had fewer large family gatherings for turkey, gravy and grandma’s famous pumpkin pie.

This Thursday, the New Year’s celebration will be as much about washing away 2020 as it will be about welcoming 2021. Even if things are still more difficult than normal.

Club Charley’s has decided to embrace the restrictions and 2020 way of life with a “mask-erade” — not “masquerade” — themed celebration. Jon Peirsol, the club’s managing director, told, “it’s a play on words.”

“We’ve custom-made masks, COVID masks,” he said. “Usually you put a mask over your eyes, we’re having masks over — just a regular COVID mask.”

These masks, featuring cheetah and unicorn print among other designs, will be handed out for free at the door to the area’s only gay club while supplies last. And supplies will be limited, as the club has taken on a temporary redesign for aesthetically pleasing enforcement of social-distancing protocols.

“We’ll just have a regular party,” Peirsol added. “It’ll be a different party, because of the restrictions, but we’ll have a champagne toast, confetti, countdown clocks … and a live DJ.”

The Yellowstone Restaurant in Pocatello is asking those interested in their jazz night to make a reservation. The reason, co-owner and general manager Jennifer Erchul said, is so the restaurant is prepared to properly provide space for social distancing. Still, the fine dining restaurant, bar and taproom is “just going to throw a little party.”

That little party will include a prix fixe meal (a multiple course meal) at 5 p.m., a photo booth and live jazz music from the Idaho Falls-based band The Dewdroppers.

“They play down here every other Thursday,” Erchul said. “We have created a great relationship with them, and our guests love them. We thought, let’s spice it up a bit on New Year’s Eve and have them come in for that special evening as well.”

Despite all the craziness of 2020, The Yellowstone, which held a similar event on Christmas Eve, is doing its best to bring a semblance of normalcy to Pocatello’s New Year’s celebration. Part of the preparation that will mark this jazz party as part of 2020 is the need for social distancing. Also, the restaurant staff’s need to wear a mask and constantly sanitize.

“But our guests that come in, we encourage them to follow the mask mandate. But we certainly are not enforcing to the point where we won’t let people in if they don’t have a mask.”

McDermotts is blasting into 2021 by flashing back to the age of prohibition and flapper dresses.

The Irish Pub’s Roaring Twenties-themed party will include hourly drink specials and a costume contest.

Oasis Sports Bar is mixing classic and contemporary celebrations with dart tournaments. The competitions begin at 7 p.m. with signups closing at 6:30 p.m.

In a Facebook ad, the Center Street Clubhouse asks, “are you ready to end 2020. We sure are.” And they are closing what has been a rough year for most with half-priced burgers all day, and a DJ’ed party beginning at 8:30 p.m.

For some Idahoans, the chance to win a little money rather than spend it on celebrating may be in the cards. For those, the Shoshone-Bannock Casino and Hotel will be doing five drawings between 6 p.m. and midnight, with he winners splitting a total of $30,000.

Others may be looking for an opportunity to be more philanthropic.

Idaho State University’s College of Arts and Letters has an option for that. With the purchase of a $20 ticket one can take part in this year’s virtual New Year’s Eve Gala and fundraiser. Participants will be treated to art, music and theater performances.

In a video posted on twitter, arts and letters students thanked prospective donors for continuing to help “actualize [their] education” and create otherwise unavailable opportunities.

There will be one massive absence this New Year’s Eve.

Denny’s Wrecker Service has offered free tows for the past three decades. But due to COVID safety protocols, the towing company will be unable to provide the service this year.

Normally, Denny’s spokeswoman Stephanie Perry said, the company provides around 70 tows per year on New Year’s Eve. And being able to run the business with a lighter crew than usual this year was not something to which she is looking forward.

“We enjoy it,” she said, “it’s our way of giving back to the community. It is kinda sad that we’re not able to do it (this year), but next year we are going to be right back at it.”

So, from, please keep in mind that with no free tows available other means of transportation will be required. Have a fun New Year’s Eve, and be safe.