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Thousands Celebrate New Year in Downtown State College

by on January 01, 2014 8:00 AM

For two decades, the New Year's Eve celebration in downtown State College has been successful with folks watching sculptors carve ice, enjoying live performances, kids making arts and crafts, and more.

Last night's edition was another smashing success with thousands of revelers braving frigid temperatures to join the celebration. They oohed and ahhed at the ice sculptures lining South Allen Street and cheered on hundreds of runners competing in the annual 5K race.

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 was the 20th anniversary of the event in State College, which is modeled after a celebration that started in Boston in 1976.

A major part of the annual event includes providing unique ways for revelers to share their New Year's resolutions.

For example, a two-story, colorful fabric Phoenix created by artist Bill Godfrey was one of the newest resolution pieces for First Night State College. The massive piece was suspended from the second floor balcony railing at State College Borough Hall on South Allen Street. Folks attached their resolutions to the tail of the bird.

Merrymakers also had an opportunity to symbolically let go of 2013 at Sidney Friedman Park with "Fire Sculptures." Simply write down your resolutions for 2013 and toss them into the fire providing closure to one year and a "clean slate" for 2014.

Check out what some community members told they resolve to do in 2014.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller resolves to "start expressing the gratitude that I feel towards others. Spend more time with family and friends and keep appointments for working out. Modify Centre County's pre-trial bail program to better protect victims and the public. Focus on new Child Advocacy Center. Improve and strengthen laws that protect animals."

Olivia Toms of State College resolves to "be more loving to my family."

Ted Christopher of State College resolves to "learn how to play chess and to exercise more."

Esther Cordell of State College resolves to "lose weight and exercise."

Tom Santangelo of Long Island, N.Y. resolves to "start working on my thesis."

Penn State University President Rodney Erikson resolves to "lose some weight and spend more time exercising."

State College Mayor Elizabeth resolves to "re-landscape the native plants in my garden, explore Centre Region bike trail, and get enough sleep."

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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