National acts performing at The Gallivan Center have attracted much of attention during the fourth iteration of Salt Lake City’s three-day New Years Eve celebration EVE.
The new idea was hatched with hopes of attracting 20-to-30-somethings to the festival.
But in addition, there has been a renewed focus on activities geared toward families and children, and so far crowds have swarmed this year’s EVE, with a new Family Festival at The Gateway as well as at the neighboring Clark Planetarium and Discovery Gateway. The trio of venues have been drawing kids and parents who know nothing about bands Blind Pilot and !!! (otherwise known as Chk Chk Chk) at The Gallivan Center.
Online sales for $15 passes have been brisk, said Nick Como, spokesman for the Downtown Alliance, which sponsors the event. Sales for this year’s edition have outpaced last year’s sales by 15 percent, so expectations are that more than 30,000 people will attend at least one day of the festival, breaking last year’s record.
The largest congregation of families and children was at The Gateway Sunday, the new headquarters of family-friendly activities now that the Salt Palace Convention Center is no longer involved with EVE. The Family Festival was held on Rio Grande Street in a vacant store once home to J. Crew.
At about 4:30 p.m., about 50 children with their parents in tow were inside the store, watching puppet shows, getting their faces painted, receiving balloon animals, bouncing on glow-in-the-dark hexahedrons and plugging in glowing pegs on a large-scale Lite-Brite board. A special appearance was made by five actors from the Salt Lake Acting Company, who performed an abridged version of Click, Click, Moo: Cows That Type, a play running through Jan. 5 at the company’s playhouse.
Inside, the store, ten-year-olds Ava Bennett and Bella Brewer received black handle-bar mustaches painted under their noses, with Ava explaining that, along with a friend, they were supposed to be addressed as the Three Mustache-keers. Next on their list of activities was requesting balloon animals shaped as — in keeping with their day’s theme — mustaches.
Bella attended last year’s EVE at the Salt Palace, and expressed disappointment that now gone were the bounce-houses and sumo-wrestling suits that graced last year’s event. Nevertheless, she planned on watching planetarium shows, ice-skating at The Gallivan Center, and even bopping along to Blind Pilot headlining that night’s music schedule. “Mom is going to bring lots of scarves,” Ava said of the frigid temperatures.
Parked just outside the Family Festival room was a 26-foot-long 1963 Airstream Overlander travel-trailer dubbed The Creative Capsule and run by Allison Harberston and Lisa Dickman. They were taking a break from their trailer being rented for kids’ birthday parties to help pass-holding kids construct New Years Eve Wish Necklaces. With a little help from the duo, children were filling the necklaces with confetti and wishes for 2013. Dickman said while most children chose peace as their wish, one imaginative child had wished for daily allotments of balloons, while another wished for, simply, silence, as he lived in a household full of boisterous siblings.
Down the street was the Clark Planetarium, which during the day showed films “Let It Snow” and “Perfect Little Planet,” with night screenings planned for “Zeppelin” at 10 p.m. and “Dark Side of the Moon” at 11 p.m. Next to the theater was a poster for the upcoming “The Wizard of Oz” prequel “Oz: The Great and Powerful” starring James Franco. One wondered that if you paired screening the upcoming film at the same time as playing Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” would the two match up (as does “The Wizard of Oz” and the album according to an urban legend)?
The gift shop at the planetarium was also hopping, with one of the most interesting bins contained plush toys of viruses (such as West Nile and AIDS), flesh-eating bacteria, and sperm and egg cells. (Does The Eagle Forum know about this?)
Across the street were arts and crafts stations at Discovery Gateway, also open to pass holders. One energetic child inside the interactive museum’s Neighborhood Market amused himself, and few others, by repeatedly pushing the button that activated an announcement that blared, “Clean up on grains aisle, please.”
Elsewhere at The Family Festival were eight-year-old Kaylee Pettigrew and her nine-year-old brother Colby Pettigrew, clutching balloon animals of an octopus and a spider, respectively. With a unicorn painted onto her left cheek, Kaylee said that of she was able to eat lots of candy, she might, for the first time in her life, be able to stay up until midnight the following day to watch fireworks at The Gallivan Center.
But even she had doubts.
“I’m a sleeper,” Kaylee admitted.
When • Monday, 10 a.m. (when Discovery Gateway and The Leonardo open) to midnight (when fireworks explode in sky over Gallivan Center)
Where • Broadway Centre Cinemas, Clark Planetarium, Discovery Gateway, The Gateway, Gallivan Center, Off Broadway Theatre, Temple Square Assembly Hall, Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Temple Square Tabernacle, The Leonardo and Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
Tickets • General admission pass, $15. Allows access to all venues. VIP pass is $50. VIP pass includes top-level balcony viewing for Gallivan Center music acts and fireworks, ice skating and “Da Vinci the Genius” exhibit at The Leonardo. Tickets available at all attractions. One child under 10 free with paying adult.
More • A new Family Festival at The Gateway will be held from 3 to 7 p.m.
Info • eveslc.com
Dec. 31 Music schedule at Gallivan Center
Monday, 7 p.m. • Night Sweats
Monday, 8:30 p.m. • No Nation Orchestra
Monday, 10 p.m. • !!! (Chk Chk Chk)
Dec, 31 Highlights of Temple Square Tabernacle
Monday, 9:05 p.m. • Octappella
Monday, 9:55 p.m. • Katherine Nelson
Monday, 10:30 p.m. • Nashville Tribute Band