Photography by: Mark O'Neal
We are confirming that CBC’s Over The Rainbow star Stephanie La Rochelle will perform “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” as part of a live Wizard Of Oz skating show at 6:00pm, New Year’s Eve at Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive.
The show will kick-off both indoor and outdoor festivities that will be capped with new and IMPROVED FIREWORKS - the only fireworks for families to see in Ottawa. That happens at 10:00pm.At this, the 20th anniversary edition of the event - the Emerald anniversary edition - the theme of the entire night is the Emerald City and the Wizard of Oz.
This annual spectacular, sponsored by IKEA, takes place both indoors and outdoors and it has been voted "Best Place To Spend New Year's Eve" by local television viewers. It's easy to see why. There really is something for everyone, the talent showcase, the singers, musicians - even including harpists- magicians, indoor games, dancers, face painting, the skating party on the outdoor rink and the bouncy castle ride inside all bring smiles to faces of people from 1 to 101 AND EVERYTHING IS FREE.
Indoors there is a ballet demonstration by Nepean's own Les Petits Ballets leading into the talent showcase and dozens of other activities. When the Alcohol-free New Year's Eve began two decades ago as purely
an anti-impaired driving project sporting only dozens of attendees, few guessed that it would grow into a tradition attracting several thousand residents every year - but it has, giving thousands a positive, safe alternative and creating memories that endure.]
Ikea is returning yet again as the presenting sponsor of this NewYear's Eve centrepiece, it has been a supporter for decades. Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving and MADD Ottawa will again keep the refreshments coming. The hot chocolate and low-priced snacks are the only things that are not free this night and all profits go to OSAID and anti-impaired driving programs.
Rick Chiarelli's office staff and family are the volunteer organizers of the event - in fact, Chiarelli's family has never spent a New Year's Eve anywhere else. Oldest daughter Natalia attended her first Centrepointe Drive New Year's Eve only two months after she was born
and has helped out every year. Her sisters Carla and Veronica join her to inform media, put up signs, prepare baggies of candy days before the event and hand out information flyers door-to-door to thousands of homes.
Magician John Milks and Singer Russell Lavia have given up every New Year's Eve to be put on the event. For thousands of Ottawa residents, it just wouldn't be New Year's Eve without Milks' comedic magic or Lavia leading the crowd in the singing of Auld Lang Syne to cue the fireworks at 10:00pm - midnight in Greenland which, fun fact, has the same population as College Ward. The 10pm fireworks is an earlier start to the New Year out of respect for the little ones' need to get home to bed.
"We've taken the best experiences of previous years and built upon them," says the Councillor. "Every year something new emerges as a crowd favourite." The Ikea Furniture Assembly Contest was born a few years ago and it is mayhem.
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