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Wolfeboro gathering revels in New Year's celebration

WOLFEBORO - Thousands of revelers spent the last day of the year enjoying a bounty of activities at First Night Wolfeboro 2013.

Hosted by the Governor Wentworth Arts Council and the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce, First Night Wolfeboro presented more than 23 entertainers and activities, from music from all genres to kid-friendly crafts from hot air balloon and mask making. While most events were held indoors at venues throughout town, the highlight was the First Night giant puppet parade featuring some new characters. Lines started forming early on South Main Street prior to the 5:15 p.m. parade start time.

Among the crowd were Julie and Gary Davis of Loudon, with their daughter, Taylor, 8, and son, Ike, 6.

"This is a perfect family outing," said Gary as the family waited for the parade to start. With so much to offer, what did the family choose for First Night activities? "Face painting, mask making, and the Wildlife Encounters show," said Gary, noting that they enjoyed seeing an Arctic fox and a live, three-year-old crocodile.

Elsewhere around town, five-year-old William Dumont was having a blast racing hamsters at O'Brien's Pet Supply store. This highly rated event returned this year, and the race entailed hamsters in rolling plastic cages to go from one end of a framed track to the other.

"He's so cute!" said young William after he asked his mom, Jennifer Dumont, whether he could take the hamster home. The Dumont family comes out every First Night Wolfeboro, said Jennifer. And like other families, they enjoy the craft activities for kids, and the wild animal show.

At the face painting and mask making headquarters (the student center at the Brewster Campus), Jim Howard and his son, Jameson, 5, worked on making a mask.

"It's perfect - we love it," said Jim, adding that they've been coming out to First NightŪ Wolfeboro since Jameson was a baby.

At Cate Park, Murray Long of Wicked Good Ice Company in Dover and a co-worker put the finishing touches on the First Night Wolfeboro 2013 Ice Sculpture with the theme, "Rise of the Elves."

Long said the company had ice sculpture crews all over, including at First Night Portsmouth and New Year's Eve celebrations in Newmarket and Ogunquit, Maine. With the evening's cold temperatures, there was no danger of a meltdown on Monday. Long said the sculpture takes a few days to create, but ice sculpting takes 30 years to learn.

Direct sunlight might take its toll on the sculpture over the coming weeks, but in the meantime visitors can still see the work of icy art - a block commemorating 2013 flanked by two large elf hats where children can insert their faces into an open space for picture taking - at the Wolfeboro Community Bandstand.

Entertainment continued throughout the evening, with a second or two fireworks displays set for midnight.

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Larissa Mulkern may be reached at LMulkern@newstote.com.


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