Summerside, P.E.I. - While the extreme weather iced plans for scores of events across the country, celebrations went ahead and ushered in the crowds at the Credit Union Place in Summerside on Sunday afternoon.
Families were greeted at the entrance of the multi-purpose facility, located at 511 Notre Dame Street, with a steaming mug of hot chocolate and a freshly baked cookie.
Robbie Rankin, event organizer, said the cold snap wouldn’t phase him.
“We moved this event inside a number of years ago based on the weather,” he said, and added, “Lots of locations across the country have cancelled their New Year’s Eve celebrations, but we’re fortunate to have this building.
“Everything that we would want to do outside, we can do in this facility and keep people warm…This is a family-friendly event so the parents can spend time with their kids on New Year’s Eve, and by 8 p.m. they can take their kids home or continue the celebrations.”
Eric Bowlan, known for his Mr. Magic show, was a new addition to the annual event.
“Every year we try to add a new event or draw, so this year we had the magic show,” said Rankin. “And I just went to watch the show and noticed how much the kids loved it.”
Bowlan captured an audience with his “abracadabra” Houdini magical feats that included the young participants.
“They make sure the kids are having fun,” added Rankin.
Free skates, bowling and swimming were also on the menu for the public, including giant inflatable toys, face painting with Patty Gallant, and the return of Princess Anna, Queen Elsa and Captain America of the Spotlight School of Arts in Summerside.
Christopher and Patricia MacQueen, of Twist It Balloon Creations, captured a crowd while they transformed the inflatables into all shapes and sizes, from dogs to flowers.
And when asking revellers what they were most looking forward to in the New Year, Noah Alley, his daughter Payten, and Jeannie Evans shared their hopes and wishes.
“I’m getting my Red Seal for welding this year, and I’ve been studying over four years as an apprentice for this exam,” said Noah Alley.
Jeannie Evans added, “I do my emergency nursing program here in Summerside, so it’s going to be a busy year. And then Payten lives in Alberta and we look forward to having her visit us in the summer.”
New Year’s festivities kicked off at 4 p.m. and culminated with the ringing out of “Auld Lang Syne” to the accompaniment of the Pendergasts on their musical instruments, and a finale of fireworks that lit up the inky night sky at 8 p.m.