Tuesday, January 01, 2008

First Night followup: Found a new love ...

Wow. I now know the magic that is First Night. While the kids weren't quite up to my full to-do list, we had a fabulous time this New Year's Eve. We hopped on the free Tacoma LINK and made it to the Museum of Glass in time for all the munchkins to make "cone head" hats and hang out in the hot shop for awhile (my dad had never been -- and he quite enjoyed it). We even got to peruse the current "Mining Glass" and "Contrasts" exhibits to the 7-year-old's delight (she's obsessed with the Museum of Glass for about three years now) ... the 2-year-old announced "don't touch!" at every stop. We ran into some other parents from my kid's preschool, someone from work, a friend of my parents' from way back when, one of our city council folk ... and many, many other folks wandering to and fro (and it wasn't even 5 yet!) It was amazing to see so many people filling the streets and wandering downtown Tacoma.

Then, it was time for dinner. With four kids 7 & younger in tow, this was no small feat ... as there were only three adults, and one had to make it to Sanford & Son by 6, so location was essential. But did I mention little kids? The solution was easy: Puget Sound Pizza! We got a cheese pizza and Hawaiian pizza and I've never seen my kids or their cousin inhale so much pizza. I swear one of the pieces was bigger than their head, and it was gone in a flash. We had nothing to pack into our backpack when we left. And we adults actually paced ourselves. Oh, and here we ran into TONS of First Night button wearers, including a friend and member of this circus troupe.

After that, it was time to entertain the kids. So we attempted what everyone else with kids did: Valentine's Performing Pigs. Let's just say the Rialto was packed. We were running late and we ended up cramming six of us into four seats in the very back row of the far corner of the highest balcony. Did I mention packed? After that, we went outside into the oddly balmy winter weather and enjoyed the main stage for awhile. And ran into Mr. Exit133, Mr. & Mrs. FeedTacoma, tux-wearing County Councilman Tim Farrell, a former coworker ... and so many more folks. I'm always amazed how in Tacoma, even among a crowd of thousands, you can find so many friendly faces.

Fast-forwarding, we caught the parade, led by the unsinkable TacomaMama, that had pirates and roller derby girls and some awesome Chinese dancing dragons -- and a great drum performance. Then, it was off to the Instrument Petting Zoo where my kids wandered around with several other "kids" of all ages who were trying out all kinds of instruments. A trombone, trumpet, one-man-band contraption, guitars of all sizes, a flute, clarinet, lots of percussion instruments, a keyboard, and even a theremin, which my eldest fell thoroughly in love with. By the end, we'd determined the eldest had a thing for the zany (the theremin) as well as the flute, which she made music with on the first try. Her cousin leaned toward the piano and the clarinet (weird, her mom played clarinet). My middle one, he was all over the trombone (like his dad) and all the guitars. And the baby girl grabbed a baby guitar and a stick and started pretending to play violin. It was pretty cool. After about an hour we managed to pry the kids from petting the instruments and headed back outside and back to the main stage, where they ran and ran and ran and danced and danced and danced.

At this point I realized I wasn't going to be checking off pretty much ANYTHING on my original list, and I was okay with that. We were having a fabulous time. Between the kids' joy, time with my dad, all the street performers and the people in the street, the outdoor music and the things we made indoors, I was lacking nothing. But then, miracle of miracles happened ... the kids got cranky, my dad and I took them home, and then dad was willing to have some grandpa time and I GOT TO GO BACK!!! WITHOUT KIDS! I met back up with my hubby and some other pals at Galanga for a late-night snack and then headed through the crowds (it was great to see the Helm brimming with activity) over to the Deborah Page performance at Sanford & Son.

And that's where I fell in love all over again ... my husband has no need to fear, but now that I finally got my arse over to Sanford & Son, I'm sure to be back. A lot. And Deborah Page is, well, simply divine. (And I hear she plays there on Third Thursdays; yay!) The magic of Deborah's muse in the eclectic Sanford & Son space was hypnotizing. After that, the rest was icing. The music, the people, the spectacular top-of-the-parking-lot fireworks ... it was fabulous.

Can't wait until next New Year's Eve! So see you at First Night 2009 (remember, that's Dec. 31, 2008). You all likely have new calendars this week, put it on there! New Year's Eve 2008 in downtown Tacoma will be fabulously fun: Don't say you weren't warned.

4 comments:

Nathe said...

PHEW!

Gexy said...

Hi from the table next to you at Puget Sound Pizza (the one with the girl with a Nintendo DS). What a wonderful night. Thanks for all of your work (your proud dad told us who you were while you were in the restroom).

That's a picture of me and my daughter on the First Night website. She's in the pink poncho.

urbanX said...

Yay! First Night is back! Check out more pictures on the urbanXchange blog...

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! So glad everyone had a blast. Everyone that volunteered/worked on First Night had tons of fun... and we were working! We all are very glad that this celebration has come back to Tacoma and are already looking forward to next year! Cheers to all the hard work board members and volunteers put in to make this First Night one to remember. Keep telling your friends, next year is bound to be bigger and better! - Metro Parks Tacoma