New Year’s at The Dole: A Festive Way to Bridge Future, Past

Live music and a touch of 1920s glamour help ring in 2024 at this New Year’s Eve celebration in Crystal Lake.

The party indoors comes with live music through evening and a balloon and confetti drop once the clock strikes midnight.

Is there a better way to ring in 2024 than with a visit to the stately Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake? It’s a place where cherished memories of days gone by have proudly lingered over the years. Built in 1865, this Victorian-era Romantic Italianate manor is the perfect setting to dress in your finest and launch New Year’s dreams.

“Last year’s New Year’s Eve party with a ‘Cirque du Soleil-esque’ circus theme was a fabulous event,” says Sharon LeCoque, chair of the New Year’s event and co-founder of the Farmers Market+ At The Dole, “It helped us to mark the 100th anniversary of the Crystal Lake Country Club.”

The fun returns again this year with a special gathering on the evening of Dec. 31.

“There isn’t a local place to really celebrate in a big way without driving to the city,” adds LeCoque. “We are committed to bringing another top-notch party to the community for a night to be remembered.”

This year’s party theme is all about live music. You can find it in many corners of the historic mansion and its annex. Arriving guests can take advantage of complimentary valet parking by Top Tier Valet. Scrumptious heavy appetizers are served by Wild Asparagus Catering in Barrington, with a Retro Candy “Bar” featured again this year courtesy of The Inside Scoop.

The GooRoos warm up the festive crowd and perform for two hours, starting around 7:30 p.m. They’re a big local favorite.

Then, the Modern Day Romeos ring in the New Year with a performance from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. This beloved area band provides a fun, unique and high-energy show. They plan to pause with you at the stroke of midnight as balloons drop and festive confetti flies. You’ll get to savor a complimentary midnight champagne toast poured in a commemorative festive glasses.

To know the magnificence of this beautiful venue is to have knowledge of its past. It was in 1922 that Eliza “Lou” (Louise) Ringling purchased the Dole Mansion, along with her investment group, to create the country club.

“Her wealth came from the Ringling Brothers Circus,” notes LeCoque. “When her husband, Al, the eldest Ringling brother, passed away, she inherited his circus fortune. The Country Club was a vision they had shared, and the Dole Mansion was the perfect location with roughly 1,000 acres of land.”

With a nod to The Dole’s history and the 1920s, there’s also live jazz playing in Lou’s Lounge, a speakeasy-type atmosphere in The Dole’s lower level. The performance venue is named in honor of Ringling and the fact that her country club was built during Prohibition.

“Surely, there had to have been a secret place to sneak cocktails, as it was a social club, after all,” says LeCoque. “There also will be live music in the mansion on our recently acquired 1921 Steinway.”

The Dole is owned and operated by the Lakeside Legacy Foundation, an independent nonprofit. Events such as the New Year’s Eve party, summertime’s Lakeside Festival, a year-round Farmers Market+ and ticketed events in Lou’s Lounge help to fund this organization and support the restoration and upkeep of the very large historic property.

A portion of proceeds from the New Year’s party will additionally support CASA of McHenry County, which helps children in the foster care system. Sponsorships are welcome and include Lake Roots, Wild Asparagus Catering, Top Tier Valet, Burke Beverages and Conscious College Planning.

Buy tickets for the event and learn more at