TERRE HAUTE —
Youngsters staying awake until midnight to welcome the new year?
Not at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum.
About 400 children and adults got an early start on 2014 at the New Year’s Noon celebration at the museum on Tuesday.
A big countdown clock projected on the wall led everyone in a downward count to noon – when tennis balls dropped to the floor and noisemakers erupted along with shouts of “Happy New Year.”
“It’s just a fun, laid back, family-friendly event where we give the kids a chance to have their own party,” said Rachael Nickel, director of education and exhibits at the museum.
Nickel was also one of the party hat makers as youngsters and adults added sequins, colorful jewels and pipecleaners to paper crowns to make festive party-wear. Museum staff also helped kids make their own countdown balls with strips of numbered paper to slide through the ball during the final 10 seconds before noon.
This was the third year for the New Year’s Noon party, and museum director Lynn Hughes said the event is very popular with patrons and the public.
“It’s just something fun to do every year,” Hughes said. “It’s a fun opportunity for kids to have their own celebration.”
As of noon, 377 children and adults had entered the museum, and several more were lined up to enter.
The average attendance has been about 300 the past two years, Nickel said.
Parent Jayme Copeland said it was the first time at the event for her and daughter, Reegan, who is age 4 and three quarters years old.
“I got an email about the event and thought that this is a good thing during Christmas break, especially since she can’t stay up late,” Copeland said as Reegan added jewels to each point on her crown.
Following the ball drop, Nickel led a parade through the main floor of the museum, followed by celebratory dancing under a glittery canopy.
As the kids continued to play at the museum, grandmother Sandy Elliott said she was happy to see her four grandchildren whooping it up. The kids’ mother was spending part of the day at Union Hospital getting chemotherapy treatment for bone cancer.
“We thought this would give the kids a fun, uplifting day without worrying about their mom,” Elliott said.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.