By Eric Hagen - ABC Newspapers
Over 100 participants rang in NOON Year! at the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley Dec. 31.This was the second year that families were able to celebrate the new year 12 hours early. The event lasted from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Prior to last year, Springbrook held its New Year’s Eve event from 7 to 9 p.m.
“It’s fun to be able to see families come out and celebrate the new year together and not worry about it being too late for kids,” said Tara Rogness, naturalist at Springbrook.
The kids were able to make crafts, play games and view the educational displays inside the nature center. Outside, they hunted for letters along the paths through the woods and tried to decipher what word the letters spelled out.
About 15 people volunteered to help run the event, according to Rogness.
Roger Lukkarila of Coon Rapids kept a large fire going outside to keep people warm. Springbrook Director Siah St. Clair said the wood was from old broken fence posts and other scrap wood that accumulated during the year and was set aside for this bonfire.
As noon approached, everyone counted down and at the stroke of noon, snowmen beach balls were released. Rogness said beach balls were chosen because they would last when the kids took them home. They previously dropped balloons.
As he left Springbrook with his beach ball, crafts, candy and memories, Harrison Reed, 3, said, “I had lots of fun.”