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Kids enjoy a crafty new year
Childrens museum INK offers family-friendly activities, parade for holiday fun
Therese Tormey marches Friday in the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids’ New Year’s Eve parade. - photo by Tom Reed

For dozens of families in Hall County the new year arrived a little early.

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids Museum in Gainesville held a children's celebration on New Year's Eve, which included a parade at noon.

Ty Morris of Gainesville brought his 2-year-old son, Will, and 4-year-old daughter, Sarah, to Friday's party.

"They probably wouldn't make it to midnight," Morris said. "We celebrate here."

INK, a hands-on children's museum, offered crafts, a magic show and free pizza to more than 300 people.


INK Executive Director Sheri Hooper said the event allows some parents to have fun with the kids before having an evening out.

"They can enjoy the day together and feel they're not sacrificing time away from the family," she said.

As well as offering a family-friendly party, exhibits at INK educated the kids, too.

Individual rooms are set up to represent real-life jobs, such as banker, dentist and grocery store clerk. The children can don costumes and pretend to examine X-rays or serve lunch.

"It's great. Kids watch us and see us go to the ATM or grocery shopping and they get to use all the same stuff here," Morris said.

Clarissa Beutler, 7, and her cousin, Anna Billeter, 9, were busily mending stuffed dogs and pandas in the mock veterinarian clinic.

They also caught part of the magic show by magician Jeff McClure. After the show, he handed out balloon animals to the crowd.

"He made a lot of stuff disappear," Billeter said.

At noon, and again at 4 p.m., the children paraded across the museum with the arts and crafts they had assembled.

Hooper said the museum will be open for families from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today and from 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

She adds that the new year will bring new changes to the museum. Staff are hoping to introduce a media exhibit that would allow children to make video newscasts.