A good employee party done right is a gift that keeps on giving. Even if it means closing down for a day, it’s worth it for the goodwill earned with your staff. The quickest way to lose that goodwill is to not have a party that you normally have every year. That sends the message that you don’t like them as much this year, or they aren’t as good employees this year.
Your past parties sound fun. I think the key point to an employee party is just getting everyone together outside of work. I would suggest sinking a grand into some raffle prizes too. Give some stuff away. Make your party something your staff talks to all the new staff about. It will all come back to you through the year.