Families crowd kids’ museum for New Year’s Eve bash

MARQUETTE – Families from across the area made their way to the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum Monday to participate in the New Year’s Eve Elementary Ball.

“It was crazy,” said Nheena Weyer Ittner, executive director of the museum. “We were filled to the brim with people.”

A total of 526 people were at the museum for the ball drop, making this year’s celebration the biggest one yet, Ittner said.

“It was really fun,” she said. “The kids were dancing up a storm, more so than I ever remember them doing.”

Refreshments were provided by Super One Foods as well as the Marquette Baking Company. Parents and kids alike munched on cookies and drank punch as they waited for the countdown to the new year to begin and danced to the music provided by a DJ.

The event took place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve, to allow families to still make their regular New Year’s Eve parties.

Ittner said the New Year’s Eve Elementary Ball has become a tradition at the museum and she looks forward to it each year.

“Some of those kids get all dressed up in their sparkly clothes,” Ittner said. “It’s really a special night.”

This year, however, a new ball was introduced, made by Landon Stelwagen, the museum’s exhibits and facilities manager.

“He actually made this wooden ball then completely surrounded it with twinkle lights, put some strobe lights in the middle and when the kids counted down, he brought it down,” she said. “It was really dazzling.”

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.