New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated at fever pitch: big crowds, lots of noise and excessive amounts of alcohol. And driving to one’s destination on the same roads as those in full partying mode can be daunting. But there are more ways to bid farewell to the old year and welcome in the new than ball drops, champagne and a hangover the next day.
For a family-friendly celebration, and one close to home at that, consider the fourth annual “New Paltz Eve” on Sunday, December 31. The Greater New Paltz Community Partnership (GNPCP) and the Town of New Paltz are once again joining forces to provide a number of fun, alcohol- and drug-free community activities for people of all ages. Everyone is welcome, and all activities are free of charge.
The festivities kick off at 1 p.m. with a two-hour scavenger hunt for youth and families at the New Paltz Youth Program’s 220 Main Street center. Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street will host a holiday story and crafts hour for ages 3-5 from 2:45-3:45 p.m. followed by an hour of sleight-of-hand with illusionist Jace from 4-5 p.m.
A free community dinner with continuous serving and live music will be hosted from 5-7 p.m. by New Paltz United Methodist Church at the corner of Main and Grove streets. Diners will have a selection of homemade chili (beef, turkey and veggie versions) along with salad, rice, cornbread and dessert; gluten-free options will be available.
And there’s something new this year, says Jim Tinger, director of the New Paltz Youth Program. Anybody who attends any of the New Paltz Eve events will receive a coupon good for a free early-evening movie at the New Paltz Cinema in town that night. The coupon can be redeemed New Year’s Eve only for an early-evening showing of any of the major motion pictures on view there. Visit http://www.greatmovieslowerprices.com/new-paltz-cinemas.html closer to the date for a schedule of that evening’s films.
When New Paltz Eve was inaugurated as a town-wide celebration in 2014, the underlying idea was to support youth and the local recovery community by providing fun New Year’s Eve activities that weren’t alcohol-fueled. But as it turns out, there are many people who would just as soon enjoy celebrating the new year in each other’s company without the alcohol and usual New Year’s Eve antics, and hundreds are expected to turn out.
Co-sponsors of New Paltz Eve include the town Department of Parks & Recreation, Elting Memorial Library, The Greater New Paltz Community Partnership (GNPCP), Goodwill Church, New Paltz Police Department, New Paltz Reformed Church, New Paltz United Methodist Church, New Paltz Central School District, New Paltz Youth Basketball, New Paltz Youth Program, Red Barn Produce, Town of New Paltz, and the Woodcrest Bruderhof Community For more information, visit www.newpaltzeve.org or the event Facebook page.