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Families Celebrate the Night in Grand Forks

Celebrate the Night provided a New Year's Eve party safe from the cold at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks Tuesday. Starting at 6 p.m., the event welcomed people of all ages, but it was geared toward families and children with its no-alcohol rule...

Abby Thomson rappels down the climbing wall
Abby Thomson (left), 11, of West Fargo visited Grand Forks on New Year's Eve. Here she rappels down the climbing wall at the Alerus Center at the annual Celebrate the Night event. JOHN STENNES/GRAND FORKS HERALD

Celebrate the Night provided a New Year's Eve party safe from the cold at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks Tuesday.

Starting at 6 p.m., the event welcomed people of all ages, but it was geared toward families and children with its no-alcohol rule.

Events including a magic show, several musical performances, face painting, inflatable games and a rock climbing wall drew a crowd, many of whom said they enjoyed attending an event that was planned for them and all in one place.

Chelsey Snead, of Topeka, Kan., who was visiting relatives in Grand Forks during New Year's Eve, said her 9- and 7-year-old children had a lot of fun on the inflatable games after being cooped up in a house all day because of the cold weather.

"I think it's really cool for the kids," she said.

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Quinton Thomas, of Grand Forks, was also at the event for the first time, with his 9-year-old son, Makai.

The two were in line for face painting, and Makai was excited to have a dragon painted on his face.

Thomas said he liked that Celebrate the Night was safe and fun.

"It's something to do to get out of the house on New Year's Eve," he said. His mother and other son were also at the event, he said.

Also in line for face painting was David Kohlmeier and his 6-year-old daughter, Halle.

Kohlmeier and his family have been attending Celebrate the Night for three or four years, Kohlmeier said.

"It's something fun to do on New Year's Eve," he said, adding that he liked that it was alcohol-free and planned well.

About an hour into the event, which was scheduled to end at midnight, organizer Mark Landa said things were going well. He added that the magician "had a pretty good crowd," and the inflatable games looked like a hit with the kids.

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Celebrate the Night is organized by the nonprofit Friends of First Night Greater Grand Forks.

Call Haley at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1102; or send email to chaley@gfherald.com .

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