Ringing in the New Year, safely at county fairground

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Staying in means staying out of trouble or potentially bothersome situations for those who attend the First Night Noblesville New Year’s Eve event Dec. 31 at the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2003 Pleasant St.

“It’s a tremendous benefit for the community to have folks volunteer their time to provide options,” said Lt. Bruce Barnes of the Noblesville Police Dept. “There’s a lot of different things. What they’re doing is such a tremendous benefit.”

This is the third time event coordinator Jim Wafford of Logan Street Signs & Banners will host the event. The past two years have had at least 175 people in attendance. Wafford renamed the event First Night Noblesville this year; however, the event is open to anyone who wants to come.

“There’s a First Night Boston with 25,000 people and they block off the streets. I’d really like to eventually create something like that here in Noblesville,” he said.

First Night Noblesville opens at 7:30 p.m. and ends after a live feed of the ball drop in Times Square at midnight. The kitchen opens at 7:45 p.m. with snacks, drinks and Greeks Pizza. Bingo starts at 10 p.m. The event also has coloring books and crayons for youngsters, tons of board games and activities, mini basketball and two ping pong tables.

“We’ll call door prizes every 15 minutes starting at 8 p.m.,” Wafford said. “We’re constantly adding prizes and games.”

In the past, Wafford has shown classic family movies. This year he will show the recently released “Despicable Me 2.” For families that have young ones and don’t want to be out late, Wafford is offering a 5 p.m. screening before the festivities begin.

“There’s no food or games but it’s still free,” he said, adding the movie will air again during the party at 8 p.m.

Wafford said the event is not a babysitting service and anyone under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

“The point is to be there with your family. To have some family time,” he said. “That’s what we are trying to create and it has done really well.”

The event began 20 years ago by George and the late Linda Kristo as an alternative for families and those who want to celebrate the holidays in a safe environment. They hosted the event for 16 years at various places in Noblesville including downtown and the high school. There no event in 2010 before the Kristos handed the event over to Wafford.

“I got involved with the Kristos because they were doing it for fun, family fun. It showed you could have fun without alcohol and drugs,” he said. “I really appreciate what the Kristos did. I don’t want to continue it but build on that.”

For more information, call Wafford at 773-7200 or visit www.FirstNightNoblesville.com.


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