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posted: 12/23/2012 5:31 AM

DuPage Children's Museum's Bubble Bash offering countdown to noon

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  • Naperville Mayor George Pradel, who has a hat for nearly every occasion, will lead kids and their parents in a countdown to noon on Dec. 31 as part of the DuPage Children's Museum's annual Bubble Bash celebration, being held this year at North Central College.

      Naperville Mayor George Pradel, who has a hat for nearly every occasion, will lead kids and their parents in a countdown to noon on Dec. 31 as part of the DuPage Children's Museum's annual Bubble Bash celebration, being held this year at North Central College.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • The Bubble Man, Geoff Akins, will be one of this year's featured performers at the DuPage Children's Museum's Bubble Bash.

      The Bubble Man, Geoff Akins, will be one of this year's featured performers at the DuPage Children's Museum's Bubble Bash.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • More than 600 kids and parents are expected to attend this year's Bubble Bash at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall.

      More than 600 kids and parents are expected to attend this year's Bubble Bash at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

If you're a little kid, New Year's Eve is about as much fun as that time you fell off your bike and wound up scraping your knee on the sidewalk.

It's the one holiday that really has nothing to do with you. You're not going to get any presents. It's a good bet nobody's going to take your picture or even offer you ice cream.

If you're really, really lucky, mom and dad might let you try to stay awake until midnight knowing full well you'll be safely in dreamland long before Ryan Seacrest comes to you live from Times Square.

On a scale of 1 to 10, New Year's Eve rates right down there with Aunt Cindy giving you underwear for Christmas or seeing another kid get a puppy for her birthday.

The folks at the DuPage Children's Museum understand and that's why a decade or so ago they developed a New Year's Eve program aimed especially at kids who have as much chance of making it to midnight as Wile E. Coyote has of having Roadrunner for dinner.

They call it a Bubble Bash and it's really a New Year's Eve party that begins at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 31 and ends with a countdown to noon led by Naperville Mayor George Pradel who, truth be told, will probably be snoozing by midnight just like many of his young fans.

"In the rush of the holiday season," museum President and CEO Susan Broad says, "it's important to take time out to enjoy family, celebrate the past year and look forward to opportunities the new year may bring."

It's also not a bad time to jump around to some catchy tunes, be dazzled by a brightly clad guy who somehow can make square bubbles and marvel at a mayor who can make a Bubble Bash countdown sound as exciting as a moon launch.

When the museum held its inaugural Bubble Bash, the idea was to entertain kids and bring a few more folks into the facility at 301 N. Washington St. in Naperville.

But as the crowds have grown -- organizers expect roughly 600 people this year -- the museum has gotten a little cramped. So this year the celebration has been shifted to North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall at 171 E. Chicago Ave.

Scheduled entertainment includes a concert by Jeanie B. and the Jelly Beans, a group that organizers say performs "upbeat songs" that are "hilarious and educational" with a "driving beat that speaks to the heart of what it means to be a kid." Seacrest probably couldn't have said it better.

There's also a "Bubble Wonders" show by Geoff Akins, a Barrington guy who literally travels the world dazzling audiences of all ages with his bubble-making ability. He's been called a Bubble Master. He's been called a Bubbleologist. Use any name you prefer, but anybody who encases an audience member in a giant bubble made from a Hula-Hoop can hardly be called boring.

This will be the first Bubble Bash for Brianne Bromberek, the museum's new marketing manager, and she says she's pretty darn excited to get a firsthand look.

A native of the Lockport area, she joined the museum staff in October after working in the marketing department at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee.

"I want to see how people react to the things we provide," she says. "Sometimes you can get separated from that when you're working in an office."

She says presenting the Bubble Bash in a different venue actually will serve several purposes.

First, it will provide far more room for kids and their parents to spread out.

"The museum experience can be lessened if it's too crowded," she says.

Second, and perhaps just as important, the museum staff increasingly is looking to do more outreach and take some of its programs and smaller exhibits on the road to emphasize the museum is more than just a place for people to come and play.

"We want to be out in the community and everywhere," Bromberek says.

Tickets are $10 for museum members and $15 for others. A $2 per ticket box office service charge will apply. Preregistration is required and tickets can be purchased online through the Wentz Concert Hall Box Office.

For details, visit dupagechildrensmuseum.org.

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