published Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

New Year's at noon at Chattanooga's Creative Discovery Museum

Luke Owen, 3, sits on top of his father, Jeff Owen's, shoulders, looking out at hundreds of other children waiting for the countdown to celebrate "New Years at Noon" at the Creative Discovery Museum on Monday.
Luke Owen, 3, sits on top of his father, Jeff Owen's, shoulders, looking out at hundreds of other children waiting for the countdown to celebrate "New Years at Noon" at the Creative Discovery Museum on Monday.
Photo by Dan Henry.

Multicolored confetti dropped from the Creative Discovery Museum's ceiling while the Saxophobia band blew "Auld Lang Syne" and nearly 1,000 people watched. Some sighed "ooooh." Others shouted "wow!" as the festive bits of color fell.

It might be the largest crowd ever to have attended the museum's New Year's at Noon celebration, museum officials said.

In previous years, about 600 to 700 people bought tickets for the celebration; on Monday staff counted 968 tickets just after the confetti release.

"It's like Times Square," said museum educator Sarah Brinkley, who called herself the kazoo master.

Brinkley and a group of children played "Auld Lang Syne" on museum-issued kazoos.

Twelve-year-old Caroline Smoak watched the activities unfold while sipping apple cider. It was her first time attending the museum's New Year celebration.

"It was more than I expected," she said.

The day's festivities began with kids and adults making their own New Year's Eve party hats, parade wands, glasses and shakers.

Just before noon, the museum's director of education, Dr. Jayne Griffith, led the crowd in a countdown to the New Year. Father Time made his last appearance of 2012, and Griffith led an apple cider toast to joy and peace in the New Year.

There also was a dance party, a parade and a bubble-wrap fireworks finale.

Henry Schulson, museum executive director and Father Time for the day, said the noontime celebration has been a tradition for more than a decade.

Traditional celebrations are important. They help bring stability to children, said Griffith. The event is also a way to bring families together to start the new year.

Ryan Hawkins rolled herself off the floor after helping her children, 6-year-old Julie and 2-year-old Jordan, collect the fallen confetti in bags.

She brought her family to the museum to celebrate the New Year together, she said.

The best part of the event for her family?

"Seeing their smiles," she said as she looked at her children.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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