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Kids ring in the new year at noon
Cate Cuccinello, left, and Alex Brown try out their noisemakers before participating in a New Year’s Eve parade Thursday at the interactive children’s space in Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed

It’s the first day of a new decade, but not a soul shorter than 4 feet tall cared much Thursday at the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids.
New Year’s Eve, for the kids at INK, was a chance to make noise and parade around the inside of the building wearing funny plastic glasses in the shape of 2010.

Guilt free, many of the kids had no New Year’s resolutions or hopes to improve in the new year.

“Did you want to do something that would be better in the new year, like I don’t know, make your bed every day, clean up your toys every day?” Carolyn Cunningham asked her 6-year-old daughter, Macheala. Carolyn Cunningham brought her two daughters to INK to celebrate what they would miss when they were asleep at midnight.

“Nope,” Macheala replied.

Despite her disinterest in resolving for a better year, Macheala was well aware of the reason she was making noisemakers and hats and participating in a parade.

“We don’t have 2009; we have 2010,” she said.

The noontime party at INK acknowledged that many kids in Gainesville, even some of the adults, would be in bed at the official end of 2009.

“They don’t get to stay up late like a lot of other kids do,” said Jenny Mask, field trip coordinator for INK. “And so this kind of gives them a chance to bring in the new year and celebrate with other kids their age.”

JB Jams owner Judy Bradley had the same idea for adults. Last year, when Bradley found she would be in Gainesville for the first time on New Year’s Eve, she decided the town needed more options to celebrate the New Year.

“There was really nothing to do, so we thought it would be fun, and it must be a lot of people like us that want a place to go fairly close to home and have a great time and hear great music,” Bradley said.

After about 270 people attended the first celebration, complete with a “chicken drop” inside the ballroom, Bradley said JB Jams resolved to have the celebration again for 2010. But the late-night party with a breakfast buffet wouldn’t be lasting past 1 a.m.

“We are in Gainesville,” Bradley said. “One a.m. was special because they know us.”

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