In the coming weeks, I will be presenting a cheque to the Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving (OSAID) as I continue to support anti-drinking and anti-impaired driving initiatives through my Alcohol-Free Family New Year’s Eve event. The cheque comes from the net proceeds of the only part of the evening that costs attendees any money - the canteen. We are proud that our event has supported anti-impaired driving groups over the years, with over $30 000 in contributions going to help in the fight against driving impaired.
This year, our Wizards and Witches themed Alcohol-Free Family New Year’s Eve was a grand success despite record cold temperatures that shut down most outdoor events across the city. Thousands enjoyed a free evening of sleigh rides, talent shows, dancers, musicians, magicians, games, bouncy castle and harpists. Residents from all over the city entered the Tri-Wizard Tournament solving puzzles while representing their House for what media have said is the best New Year’s Eve year after year.
Volunteers, dressed as wizards and witches, greeted attendees. And our costume contest had both little and big witches and wizards vying for the title of “best costume”. Special congratulations to Maddy Eisenberg from CFRA who won in the adult category. After an evening full of entertainment indoors and outdoors - yes, many people braved the -30 C degree weather to skate on the rink and to go on a sleigh ride - Russell Levia graced us with the traditional singing of “Auld Lang Syne” minutes before the musical fireworks show, a display that was particularly magical in the clear, crisp winter sky.
A Hagrid-sized thank you to all of our sponsors throughout the years, without whom the event could not exist. Many thanks to the talented performers including the Ottawa Youth Harp Ensemble and Ottawa’s own Brenden MacGowan, who entertained in the Studio. A heartfelt thank you to Brent Corbeil, our expert MC. And a Hogwarts-sized thank you to my family’s and volunteers’ hard work, without which the event could not go on!
Our Alcohol-Free Family New Year’s Eve started as an anti-impaired driving project in Nepean over twenty five years ago and has become a beloved tradition in the west end. Year after year, our event has given families the opportunity to show kids that you can have fun on New Year’s Eve without alcohol. My family and I hope to see you all continue the tradition with us next year.