1,100 people celebrate new year early at Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium
NORWALK — The 1,100 guests were decked out in sequins, glitter, hats and bow ties. The best hits of the decade — which naturally included “Baby Shark” — rang from a DJ’s booth throughout the hall. To the side, magician Gregory Dubin performed tricks using only three small cups and his quick fingers.
At the Maritime Aquarium, the sun still hung behind gray clouds and people ran last-minute errands Tuesday as 2020 hovered on the horizon. But the aquarium’s Noon Year’s Eve Party competed with even the best of New Year’s festivities, despite counting down until noon instead of midnight.
When the clock struck 12, attendees celebrated with an indoor snow squall, part of the aquarium’s holiday-time indoor winter experience, “Flurry Zone!” The last 12 hours of 2019 was welcomed in with a limbo contest and dancing.
Allowing an early party with kid-oriented activities is a New Year’s Eve solution for many parents with young children who often struggle to find family-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday.
“It’s a fun activity for kids to do,” said Kimberly Viesto, of Norwalk, who attended with her children. “It’s safe and fun.”
This was the third year the aquarium has held the Noon Year’s Eve celebration, according to Director of Marketing Tina Tison.
“We found through the years so many of our guests are children that are young,” she said. “(People) want to celebrate as a family. It’s not realistic to stay up until midnight.”
Instead, the aquarium’s party begins when it opens at 10 a.m. Guests are welcome to browse the aquarium’s exhibits, including its new coral rescue project and seal tank. They could also enjoy the special party entertainment provided by Dobin and “bubble-ologist” Kim Winslow, who performed feats like trapping a cloud of steam inside a bubble.
The party brought in 1,100 guests this year, adding to what Tison said is already a busy time of year for the aquarium with many visiting while on school break.
“This tends to be a fairly well-attended event,” she said. “It does keep us part of the routine for people staying in town.”