SUISUN CITY — Dozens of partygoers at the Kroc Center gymnasium on Monday got a considerable jump on the traditional New Year’s Eve countdown.
They chanted “five, four, three, two, one” shortly past noon, then cheered and blew into noisemakers. Given that these were children, some of them toddlers, the early welcome to 2013 suited their sleeping habits.
Naturally, the party didn’t have the alcohol so prevalent at adult New Year’s Eve parties. The children could get their faces painted, jump in a bounce house, dance to hip hop music and kick balloons.
“My daughter loves to dance,” Diana Holokahi of Fairfield said as she stood amid the pint-size party. “She’s very sociable. Any chance for her to be around kids her age is awesome.”
Her daughter Anela is also just shy of being 4 years old. Staying up to midnight to celebrate the dawn of 2013 would be a stretch.
“She doesn’t last past 8 p.m.,” Holokahi said.
Holokahi works at the Kroc Center as rental coordinator. She had talked over the situation with Jessica Pearce, the family enrichment coordinator, and the early New Year’s Eve countdown for kids was born.
Crystal Tam of Fairfield came with her 7-year-old son, Jeremiah.
“My friend told me about it,” Tam said over the big beat from the music. “It’s something for the children to do.”
Tam said she planned to stay up to greet 2013, but that Jeremiah wouldn’t.
“He’ll have his share (of fun) here,” Tam said.
Jeremiah seemed to be doing just that. Asked what he liked best at the party, he pointed to an air-filled climbing wall and slide that towered more than 15 feet over the floor, a different take on the traditional bounce house.
Kroc Center Program Manager Steve Caudle said this is the first time the center has held a midday New Year’s Eve event for children. But then, the center has been open for only seven months.
“Everything’s new for us,” Caudle said. “We definitely hope to make this an annual event.”
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.