New Paltz hosts family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration

The Greater New Paltz Community Partnership will be hosting a myriad of activities on New Year’s Eve. Pictured are members of the Community Partnership Carol Roper, New Paltz Chief of Police Joe Snyder, director Phoenix Kawamoto and Andrew Vlad of the New Paltz Youth Program with kids from the Youth Program. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Looking for something festive and family-friendly to do on New Year’s Eve that doesn’t involve spending a lot of money, drinking to excess or putting yourself in the path of impaired drivers? In the spirit of “First Night,” New Paltz Eve is returning for its third annual appearance at various venues in the village — all within reasonable walking distance, and all wrapping up early enough to have the little ones tucked safely under their quilts in time for the midnight countdown. Some new musical events are on tap for this year, plus a free screening of the classic holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life.

Sponsored by the Greater New Paltz Community Partnership, a coalition of local businesses, religious congregations, civic and community organizations, the idea behind New Paltz Eve is to “promote non-alcoholic family fun for the community,” says Jim Tinger, director of the New Paltz Youth Program. The Department of Parks & Recreation, the Elting Memorial Library, the Goodwill Church, iHeart Media Group, the New Paltz Police Department, the New Paltz Reformed Church, the New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce, the New Paltz Central School District, the New Paltz United Methodist Church, the town and village of New Paltz and the Woodcrest Bruderhof Community have all teamed up with the Youth Program to provide free activities this year.

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The fun begins at the Youth Center at 220 Main Street, which will host a Scavenger Hunt from 1 to 3 p.m. for kids of all ages. Little ones, ages 3 to 5, will enjoy the Holiday Story and Crafts Hour from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. at the Elting Library at 93 Main Street. Also at the Library, from 4 to 5 p.m., a guitarist/singer/songwriter will conduct a Community Sing-along.

More live singing, featuring kids from the community led by music educator Rich Kelly, will accompany the Community Dinner at the Methodist Church, at the corner of Grove and Main Streets. There will be continuous serving from 5 to 7 p.m., with a menu that includes three kinds of homemade chili (beef, turkey and vegetarian), salad, rice, cornbread and dessert. Gluten-free options will be available.

Yet more music, and a second helping of dessert, will be on offer from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. at the Goodwill Church, located at 16 North Chestnut Street. A screening of It’s a Wonderful Life, complete with popcorn, will follow at 7:15 in this space that was once the Academy Theatre.

In case you missed that little detail, Tinger reminds us, “Everything’s free!” — not to mention alcohol-free and drug-free. To find out more, call the Greater New Paltz Community Partnership’s Phoenix Kawamoto at (845) 419-3678, e-mail her at pkawamoto@gnpcp.org or visit www.newpaltzeve.org or www.facebook.com/events/1455057261190107.