LET'S JUST GET ONE THING STRAIGHT: Fish, as a rule, don't dance. They may swim like champions, and occasionally gurgle, and they dart and dash when required, and they sometimes even fly, but doing the tango, or performing a waltz, is of little interest to them as they move around the Big Drink. But the ocean denizens don't mind a bit if human beings dance and waltz and tango just steps away from the water, inside a beautiful building that's overlooked the place where the fish live for well over 80 years. And dance people definitely do, inside the building, especially when a rather magical night pops up on the calendar: New Year's Eve. For some 44 years now the Casino Building, Catalina Island's stately symbol, has been the sight of an old-style celebration, the kind of party with a live band and bubbly and the other hallmarks of a grand hullabaloo. The fish outside may be swimming in the harbor, and in the kelp forest beyond, but, inside, on Dec. 31, 2016?
THERE SHALL BE DANCING, and a buffet supper, and music performed by The Xceptional Music Company, and a split of Champagne for each 21-and-over reveler, and the essential (but still fairly uncommon) balloon drop at the stroke of midnight. Paper hats, sparkly noisemakers, and the kind of wave-it-toot-it accessories synonymous with the final day of the year are also provided. Good to know? You should make your reservation in advance, and secure passage to the island (by boat or by air), and find a hotel room in Avalon, as the whoop-di-do-ing will wrap after midnight. Will the fish be awake before you arise on New Year's Day? Well, yeah, because they didn't stay up late, awaiting 2017's entrance. But you can sleep in, after a grand night in a grand landmark. Of course, just make sure not to miss your boat, or you'll be running for the dock, possibly with your party hat still perched atop your head.