Revelers Take to the Streets to Celebrate the New Year
Despite the frigid temperatures, thousands of people took to the streets of downtown State College on New Year's Eve to marvel at ice sculptures, take in shows, and write down their resolutions for 2014.
Matt Toms, a youth pastor at State College Evangelical Free Church, his wife, Olivia, were out and about with their 2-year-old daughter and 4-month-old son.
"When there are things going on downtown that our daughter can enjoy we like to enjoy them as a family," says Olivia Toms.
The Toms family says they particularly like First Night because it is an opportunity to be outside with family and friends and interact with the community.
Twenty years ago, a New Year's Eve celebration called First Night made its debut in State College.
First Night is a family-friendly downtown New Year's Eve celebration that features events from 10 a.m. on Dec. 31 to midnight on Jan. 1. This year is the 20th anniversary of the event in State College, which is modeled after a celebration that started in Boston in 1976.
Ted Christopher, who is the director of opera at Penn State, brought his children downtown for the event.
"It's terrific for families and I have three small children so it's a great thing to do. It's wonderful for the community. It's nice to come downtown," says Christopher.
Christopher says he appreciates the unity between the business community, organizations like Schlow Library, and State College Borough government.
"It's really a community-building event," he says.
For Ken Leonard of Reynoldsville brought his 5-year-old granddaughter out for the giant puppet display.
"This is the first time for us. Some of my friends told me about the event and we saw pictures, so we figured we would come out," says Leonard.
Nearly all outdoor festivities are free. A $10 button allows access to all indoor performances and concerts. Click here for more information.
Over the last 20 years, the event has expanded to offer more entertainment. In the beginning, the only venue options were churches. But now, venues have expanded to State College Municipal Building, The State Theatre and Penn State Downtown Theatre. This year includes a line-up of jazz, bluegrass, folk, classical and bagpipe music.