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Happy early New Year

Kids celebrate Noon Year's Eve at Oakland Library

Dozens of area kids ring in the new year with a balloon drop at the Oakland library’s Noon Year’s Eve kids celebration. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

Dozens of area kids ring in the new year with a balloon drop at the Oakland library’s Noon Year’s Eve kids celebration. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

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These children prepare to be covered by balloons at this year’s Noon Year’s Eve celebration for kids held at the Oakland library in Lee County. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

ALBANY — Children from Dougherty and Lee counties rang in the new year early at the Oakland library’s Noon Year’s Eve celebration Tuesday.

Smiles and laughter abounded as dozens of area children gathered at the library Tuesday morning to enjoy snacks, play with bubble makers and make streamers, party hats and other crafts as they patiently awaited the countdown to noon and the release of hundreds of balloons from the ceiling.

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These area children make party hats and streamers as they wait for the Noon Year’s Eve countdown at Oakland library. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

Erin Honeycutt, Oakland’s children and youth services librarian, said the event was started to give parents an alternative to keeping young children up late to celebrate the coming of the new year.

“New Year’s is hard because it’s so late and nobody wants to keep their kids up late to celebrate,” Honeycutt said. “I saw where others in the country had done this, so I thought it would be a cool thing to bring here.”

Honeycutt said she and the library have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the community since starting the event last year and, with the help of volunteers, hope the event will continue to be a fun time for families for years to come.

“We had a great turnout last year; around 200 kids in all,” said Honeycutt. “We’ve got a similar crowd this year too. Everyone seems to enjoy it.”

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Area kids swam in a sea of balloons as they celebrated the new year at Oakland library’s Noon Year’s Eve celebration Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

As a way to keep the fun going for next year, event coordinators did something new this year by having children make time capsules where they wrote certain things down on paper and sealed the paper in envelopes to be read next year.

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A countdown to noon and balloon drop were big hits at Oakland library’s Noon Year’s Eve kids celebration Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)

“This year we had time capsules for the kids to do,” said Honeycutt. “They wrote down their favorite things about the past year and what they are looking forward to next year. We thought it would be fun for them to open them with their parents to see how their predictions turn out.”

Jennifer Johnston from Leesburg, who brought her two girls, Carly and Kinsley, to the event, agreed with Honeycutt, saying the event is a great way for the kids to celebrate New Year’s Eve. They look forward to attending each year.

“The Noon Year’s Eve party at the library has become a new tradition for our kids,” said Johnston. “They love the excitement of the countdown and all the balloons falling. They get to celebrate the new year at a time that is just right for little ones.”