Old Falls Street, USA, is inviting families to ring in the new year with a host of family-friendly activities inside The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls (101 Old Falls St.) from 4-10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31. Guests will be welcomed into the building by way of the First Street entrance.
Highlighting Old Falls Street's fourth annual "Family Fun New Year's Eve Celebration" is a countdown to a 10 p.m. balloon drop with a sparkling juice toast to ring in the New Year.
"It gives (people) something to do other than sitting at home and watching a ball drop on TV," said Susan Swiatkowski, director of marketing at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls. "It gives the kids a lot of interactive fun."
Throughout the night, many activities will be offered, including an indoor petting zoo and airbrush tattoos for children (both new to the event); a giant inflatable slide, bounce house and obstacle course; arts and crafts, facilitated by volunteer cheerleaders from the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club; an indoor snowball fight; roaming social media photo booth; free popcorn and Old Falls Street's interactive games.
"We just have a ton of different activities happening all simultaneously," Swiatkowski said.
New guest performances will take place by "Kirt the Entertainer," who will walk on stilts, juggle and perform magic; and "Mr. No The Balloon Guy," who will create characters out of balloons.
Meanwhile, guests can dance the night away with music by D&B Karaoke & DJ.
"The children and their families really seem to gravitate toward our dance floor," Swiatkowski said. "It's a nice way for families to interact, similar to the way you would at a wedding ... but a lot of times children don't have that opportunity. So it allows the kids to get their parents or grandparents out on the dance floor and teach them some dance moves."
Shown are some of the activities offered at last year's event.
City of Niagara Falls Director of Business Development Anthony Vilardo said the event provides, "Non-stop action for the kids." He said he and his family attended last year "and everyone had a wonderful time. ... If you have children of any age, it's a great place to bring your family. It's a safe, fun environment."
Before the event began four years ago, Swiatkowski said people often congregated along Old Falls Street on New Year's Eve to view fireworks displays or participate in other activities available outdoors.
After receiving feedback from visitors, it was evident people wanted to do something with their families indoors, Swiatkowski said.
"I think, throughout the years, they were longing for something that's more family-friendly, and gives them an opportunity to stay in Niagara County rather than some of the activities that might be happening further out," she said.
Approximately 50-75 families participated in the event the first year it was held, Swiatkowski said. Last year, roughly 1,000 to 1,200 people attended the event.
"We were really excited to see that the numbers are growing and the interest is still there and becoming even more popular," Swiatkowski said.
Due to increased attendance and activities, this year's event time was extended to accommodate visitors.
In a press release, Spectra's Jason Murgia, general manager of Old Falls Street, USA, and The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls, said, "We are starting our celebration two hours earlier this year to allow for more family activities inside our event center.
"Old Falls Street is happy to continue this tradition for the fourth year in a row, while providing Niagara County an alternative for families with young children."
Swiatkowski said, "We really are looking forward to putting this on again, welcoming more people and bringing on different activities for them to do so that there is always something new coming to Old Falls Street."
Presale tickets for the "Family Fun New Year's Eve Celebration" are $6 for guests ages 4 and older. Children age 3 and under are admitted free. A legal guardian must accompany all children for the evening. Tickets are $8 at the door.
To purchase presale tickets, visit http://ofsnye.brownpapertickets.com through Dec. 30. Guests may also purchase presale tickets in person at The Conference & Event Center's administration office (with entrance off Third Street) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 27-30.
For more information, visit www.FallsStreet.com, or follow Old Falls Street, USA, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.