Countdown 2008 a party for all ages

WHY sit at home when you can share in the New Year’s revelry with Launceston’s lively multitudes?
苏州美甲学校

That was the attitude of the crowds streaming through the gates last night to attend the Aurora Stadium Countdown To 2008. Early in the evening the cruisy tunes of The Emma Fair Band serenaded party-goers on entry to the event. Hooked to Miss Fair’s pure notes, there was the opportunity to just lounge back, close your eyes and wish it was you singing those sweet melodies.

“It was great to walk in the gate to the band’s sounds,” New Year’s reveller Kristie Misdom said while kicking back in front of the speakers.

While possibly biased (she’s married to the guitar-player), I couldn’t help but agree.

Moving on, the atmosphere took on a wonderful family bent, with every second person pushing a stroller while dodging toddlers and juggling fairy floss.

The circus act continued inside the grounds where Makebelieve Circus put on a show to a full audience of little people, reaching their little fingers in the air with smiles on their faces while singing The Happy Song: “We’re all happy, happy, happy.”

It was a great way to welcome the New Year with a smile on the dial and a song on the lips, apparently too tempting for a few grown-ups who joined in the merriment.

Six-year-old Harry Gregg watched from a safe distance and said the thing he was most looking forward to in 2008 was Christmas. He had a bit of a wait yet but for Connor Sheppard the wait was just too much, falling asleep on his dad’s lap at the early hour of 7.20pm.

But there was plenty to keep the young ones wide- eyed into the night, including an angel busking in her whitewashed costume.

Her act elicited a mixed response with some children not knowing whether to be enthralled or horrified by her pasty makeup and angelic articulations.

And it was no wonder some children were excited, presented with the chance to drive a police car, an army truck, a fire engine or a sports car – on the car and jeep ride, that is. Ride manager Brian Alexander enjoyed watching the delighted children’s faces.”The kids’ faces are brilliant. And sometimes the look on the mothers’ faces is priceless too,” he said.

There was plenty of grub and icecreams proved a favourite after a hot and sticky day in the North. By 6.30 the weather had cooled to a balmy temperature, perfect for strolling through the grounds in shorts, thongs and a T-shirt, with a few layers for later on.

Picnic blankets were spread on the spongy green turf of the sports ground and couples, families, friends and complete strangers sat shoulder to shoulder to enjoy the entertainment and welcome 2008 with a bang.

At 9.15pm “oohhs” and “ahhhs” were heard against the sounds of fireworks, each starburst lighting the faces of the crowd.

It was only a taster to the anticipated real thing at midnight.

Brett Budgeon, Chunky Jam, the Caledonian Pipe Band, Funk Factory Dancing, the Muttley Crew Performing Dog Troupe and Madame Stella provided a stellar line- up to keep the eyes open until the long-awaited hour.

And then the countdown began: 10, 9, 8 – the crowd chanting in synchrony, 7, 6, 5 – trying to remember those New Year’s resolutions – 4, 3, 2, then promptly forgetting them again (who needs them, anyway?) – 1.

Screams, applause and fireworks as the midnight hour clocked us into 2008, a new year of opportunities.

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