About 1,300 people crammed into New Roc City to ring in the New Year at Noon Saturday under a shower of falling balloons.
Paul Victory of Mamaroneck brought his wife Victoria and their three children—Katie, 8; Maggie, 10, and Abby, 6—to the festivities in New Rochelle.
"They had a great time in the arcade," Victory said after the event had concluded, "and during the countdown. One is getting their face painted right now."
He said he heard about it on the radio and decided to get tickets and come to New Rochelle.
"They did a good job," Victory said. "There were clowns and magicians walking around to entertain all our kids. They did a very nice job."
This was the second annual New Year's Eve celebration, said Ralph DiBart, the executive director of the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District, the sponsoring organization.
"It's a celebration for families to welcome 2012, as a demostration that there is always something happening downtown," he said. "So come on down for ringing in the New Year and come downtown every other day."
DiBart said the event was a wonderful opportunity for families with young children.
"New Rochelle is a very family focused community," he said. "We thought it was important to have an occasion to celebrate safely together at an appropriate hour, so noon is a great time to welcome the new year."
DiBart said the event had grown from the 2010 celebration, where there were about 1,000 people in attendance.
"So we think it's going to become an annual tradition," he said.
The highlight of the day was the countdown to New Year's Eve at Noon, with a balloon drop to mark the moment.
"But before that we have a lot of free activities," DiBart said, including face painting, karate demonstrations and having the children decorate their own noisemakers.
Acting as MC and hosting the countdown to noon was Jimmy Fink of 107.1 The Peak.
New Roc City was open prior to and after the balloon drop for families to eat at the restaurants and play games at FunFuzion.
"There's nothing better for adults than to welcome in their new year with exhausted children, safely asleep," DiBart said, with a laugh.