There are ample opportunities for adults to celebrate the coming of the new year, but events for entire families -- and especially young children -- are relatively few and far between.
The Mount Prospect Downtown Merchants Association provided just such an opportunity with its New Year's Eve-Eve celebration Sunday.
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The event, held at the Bristol Court Banquets, offered fun for family members of all ages.
For adult family members, that meant mixed drinks at the bar. For children, magician Keith Cobb delivered his special mixture of comedy and magic that included Cobb juggling rubber chickens while exclaiming, "Look, everybody. It's poultry in motion."
For both young and old, there were plenty of hamburgers and hot dogs, and children received goody bags with necklaces, crowns, noisemakers and rubber ducks. Popcorn and hot chocolate also was served.
"It's a good way for the families to celebrate together. And it's the day before, so then mom and dad can celebrate afterward," said association vice president and even co-chair Christy Watychowicz.
Roberta Hamann, president of the merchants association, said this was the fifth year in a row they've hosted the party. Among the local businesses participating this year were Novak and Parker Appliances, Central Continental Bakery, Capannari Ice Cream, Le Peep, Picket Fence Realty and Byte Me Computers.
Mount Prospect residents Don and Leticia Felman said they attended a couple of years ago. This year they brought their children Isabella, 8, Gabrielle, 5, and Dominic, 5.
"The kids love it," Leticia said.
It's something for (kids) to do," Don added. "Obviously adults can go out and do something. But there are not a lot of parties for kids out there. Mount Prospect is really good with kids' events and just different events in general."
The businesses also were enthusiastic participants, gaining valuable exposure as well as the chance to give back to the community.
"We consider ourselves a community business, so we want to participate in these sorts of things, and this thing is always a sellout," said Tom Zander of Picket Fence Realty.
Dan Novak, of Novak and Parker, came to the party with his wife, Beth, and 11-month-old son, Naish.
"It's good to just be in the community. To celebrate the community and help the community with donations," he said. "So whether it's the park district's events or the school districts' events or the Mount Prospect downtown merchant's events, I try to get involved as much as possible,"