Getting an early start on 2019: Kids party all around the world

New Year’s celebration happened 12 hours early last Monday at the Imagine Nation Museum. The “Ball” dropped at noon, along with confetti and balloons to ring in the New Year. (Photo by Mike Chaiken)



Imagine Nation, A Museum Early Learning Center invited families to ring in the New Year during their 13th annual Celebrations Around the World event, which highlighted traditions from many countries and cultures.

Six-year-old Madison gets her face painted by Connecticut Princess Lilie Woodward at the Imagine Nation’s New Year’s celebration on Monday, Dec. 31. (Photo by Mike Chaiken)

In the museum studios, there were activity-based traditions, such as the Greek tradition of putting small presents into shoes, the Nigerian tradition of creating and decorating animal masks, and the Ecuadorian practice of burning scarecrows. There were also food-based traditions such as the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, and the Filipino tradition of eating biko.

Imagine Nation’s resident chef, Alie Waterman, explained that biko — which is made from sticky rice, brown sugar, and coconut milk – symbolizes a family sticking together throughout the year.

Laurel Smith, who attends Imagine Nation as a student, said that she enjoyed participating in the drumming circle. And, Briella Woodward, 2, who was accompanied by her mother, Laura Rothkopf, enjoyed all of the glow-in-the-dark activities.

Representatives from the Miss Bristol and Miss Forestville Scholarship Organization participated by painting faces, which is something they do each year.

Miss Forestville 2019, Jaymie Bianca, said it was an honor to be involved in Celebrations Around the World as she attended Imagine Nation when she was younger.

Bianca said one of her New Year’s resolutions is to do as much with her title as possible.

One year old Summer made her appearance as Baby New Year last Monday at the Imagine Nation’s New Year’s celebration. (Photo by Mike Chaiken)

“I really want to give back to the community. This is the community that I’ve lived in my entire life so it’s really to be able to give back to the community, do all that I can as Miss Forestville, and truly make an impact,” said Bianca.

Bristol residents and siblings, Vincent, Alexander, Emily, and Abbey Murphy said that they enjoyed many of the activities, such as face painting and the light up dance floor. Abbey and Emily both said that they want to learn how to ice skate in the new year, and Vincent said was looking forward to learning more history.

Museum volunteers, Nicholas Cianciolo and Siena Stickney, dressed up as Ryan and Renee Seacrest, respectively, to greet attendees and to ask them about their New Year’s resolutions.

“I think [the event is] great because starting at such a young age, you get to see all the different worldly events and not a lot of places do this kind of thing, so, I think it’s really interesting,” said Stickney.

The event culminated with a ball drop at noon, which marketing manager Heather Grance, explained involves a disco ball dropping “down from our third level into the center of Imagine Nation Times Square.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at