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Children in The Woodlands ring in the New Year early at museum soiree

December 31, 2018

The countdown for the littlest of partiers began a little before 1 p.m. Monday — five, four, three, two, one. Happy 2019!

The Woodlands Children’s Museum celebrated its ninth New Year’s celebration on Monday with noisemakers and balloons as a way for area children to celebrate the coming of 2019 hours before midnight.

“Everyone enjoys New Year’s celebrations,” said museum social media Manager Courtney Coats. “So this is a hands-on event for everyone.”

More than 1,000 attendees were expected to ring in 2019 at the celebration’s three sessions, scheduled for 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Coats said. Some of last year’s participants had to be turned away due to capacity constraints, so the museum added another event to accommodate its growing popularity.

“When you put 500 people in a space this size, it can get a little stuffy,” Coats explained.

Each session offered arts and crafts activities, bubble wrap dancing, live entertainment and a New Year’s countdown for partying tots who will be asleep well before the clock strikes midnight — something that might just add an extra smile to their parent’s faces when the real countdown is on.

Music for the three sessions was provided by Tom’s Fun Band, headed by frontman Tom Wilbeck, which led the countdown and provided interactive music for the kids dancing their way into 2019.

The band, comprised of Wilbeck and his brothers Chris and Russell, started in The Woodlands in 2007 and has a long-standing partnership with the museum.

“It’s a good way to get them out there and celebrate,” said Timea Fernandez, whose children, Lillian, Charlotte and Michael, are unlikely to make it to midnight, she said.

The museum has been celebrating its early New Year’s Eve party since its old location in The Woodlands Mall. When the museum moved to a stand-alone location in the Panther Creek village center eight years ago, officials brought the party there as well.

“This just offers a safe environment for families to engage with their children,” Coats said.

Five-year-old Saorise Foley was too busy dancing like a dinosaur to talk to The Villager, but her father, William Collins, said the event was a way for the two Arkansas residents visiting relatives in the area to have fun together on New Year’s.

“We’re just having fun,” Collins said.

mrincon@chron.com

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