Family friendly celebrations on New Year’s Eve

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — There are first night celebrations from Hartford to Westport but News 8 wanted to find some family friendly festivities in Southeastern Connecticut.

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WTNH / Tina Detelj

First stop was Mystic Aquarium where its Winterfest was full of often delightful and sometimes delicious displays.

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WTNH / Tina Detelj

“The secret to a good gingerbread house is that you’ve got to bake the gingerbread to the point of almost burnt so the walls stand up,” says Eric Hinsh who shows off his decorating talents to some wanna-be young bakers.

His gingerbread house looks good enough to eat.

“Yeah you could eat it but you have to stop at the plywood,” jokes Hinsh.

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WTNH / Tina Detelj

If it’s a dance party you want there will be one in front of the big fish tanks starting at noon on New Year’s Eve.

Since the aquarium closes just before sunset families can then head over to Margarita’s in Mystic to ring in the new year with a Mexican meal and they don’t have to wait until midnight.

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WTNH / Tina Detelj

“Starting at 5:00 every hour on the hour until 10 when the dining room closes we’re going to have a little count down to midnight to celebrate midnight somewhere around the world,” says manager Heidi Dellenbach.

They’ll also feature Mexican traditions like eating a grape at the end of the meal for good luck and finding the coin in a loaf of bread or in this case a bowl of chips. “To celebrate prosperity,” explains Dellenbach.

Another alternative to the huge New York City celebration is a square dance at the Lebanon Congregational church.

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WTNH / Tina Detelj

“It’s non alcoholic,” says organizer Ann Staebner. “It is a pot luck supper so you bring your own dish.”

The celebration which promises a night full of food and dancing goes from 7 p.m. to just after midnight. It’s been a tradition at the church for more than twenty years.

“We have people from babies all the way up to teenagers and they all come and they all have a great time,” says Staebner.


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