SUISUN CITY — That familiar New Year’s Eve countdown began over the Kroc Center gymnasium loudspeaker: “Ten, nine, eight, seven . . .”
A few dozen children crowded together under a red, blue, green and yellow canopy, hands stretched upward. Twelve o’clock arrived. The canopy fell, spilling balloons and confetti.
“It’s going to be an awesome year, 2014,” Salvation Army Capt. Jonathan Harvey said into the microphone as children yelled, blew into noisemakers and in general looked quite happy to be ringing in a new year.
And it was only noon on Tuesday.
New Year’s Eve came early to the Kroc Center, at least for the children. The center celebrated the dawn of 2014 at noon just for them — or decided to abide by the time zone bringing the new year to the United Arab Emirates at precisely the same time.
“It’s a fun time for the kids,” Harvey said. “We know many of these little ones won’t be able to make it until midnight tonight.”
Seven-year-old Jasmine Strain prior to the countdown pranced around the room with a noisemaker in her mouth. She’s tried to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve.
“My Mom fell asleep before I got to it,” Jasmine said. “Me too.”
Julie Strain of Suisun City brought Jasmine to the party.
“I brought my niece (Jasmine) and nephew from San Francisco,” Julie Strain said. “I brought them just for this.”
New Year’s Eve is mysterious for children, she said. With the Kroc Center event, they get to experience it.
Her own children, two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old, came to volunteer to help put on the event.
Jennifer and Matthew Carpentier of Fairfield came with a 10-year-old, 5-year-old, 18-month-old and 4-month-old, three their own and one a nephew.
“We came last year and the kids have a lot of fun,” Jennifer Carpentier said. “It’s really a good experience for them to be able to count down at noon.”
Besides the countdown, the event featured bounce houses, face painting and other activities. Contemporary music pounded over the loudspeaker, though it switched to “Auld Lang Syne” at the noon hour.
Her children aren’t staying up until midnight, Jennifer Carpentier said.
Then again, they didn’t need to do so. They had already attended their New Year’s Eve celebration at the Kroc Center.
“This is a party for their age,” Jennifer Carpentier said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.