NORTHUMBERLAND, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A free annual New Years’ Eve event took place in Northumberland on Friday.
It’s not a ball drop but an Oxygen Isotope drop at Kings Street Park and it didn’t happen at midnight but at noon. The idea is to have a celebration for younger children who may not usually stay up late.
Jeff Johnstonbaugh, the Director of Priestly-Forsyth Memorial Library said the library and the Northumberland Fire Department got together and did the very first countdown to noon six years ago.
“I actually kind of like it, like I’m kind of excited for the ball to drop,” said Connor Treas, Northumberland.
“The town is known for Dr. Joseph Priestly and his discovery of oxygen. The Fire Company built the oxygen isotope which they will drop shortly before noon,” explained Johnstonbaugh.
Chief Brian Ginck of the Northumberland Fire Department said the first oxygen atom dropped was actually made out of hula hoops.
“A bunch of us, we got this idea at the last minute so we’re running around to all the Michael’s and Walmart and all these handcraft stores we ended up with hula hoops and silver paint and glitter and we put the first atom together that way. Since that the atoms had a couple of evolutions. Now it’s got a disco ball in the center of it to give it a little flair and some LED lights and things like that,” said Chief Ginck.
Connor Treas said you don’t usually get to see a ball drop unless you’re in like New York or something.
Johnstonbaugh says they give the children plastic champaign glasses full of soda and then they toast to the new year, just like adults would do.
“We have three different stations. The Library is the location for storytime, Christ United Methodist Church is the location for our science experiment and then the Masonic Building we have all kinds of crafts. We have 5 different stations of crafts for the kids to make and take,” said Johnstonbaugh.
Ben Whitenight of Northumberland said he got an egg with beads in it and made a music maker.
“We made some crafts back over there and then we also had hot chocolate and popcorn,” said Treas.
“It’s exciting for kids. They’ll be tired when they’re done here which the parents will probably enjoy a little later,” said Johnstonbaugh.
Around a dozen local sponsers helped fund the event to keep it 100% free for everyone.
The Northumberland Fire Department intends to keep improving the Isotope year after year.