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On New Year’s Day, the biggest, rowdiest party in Carroll County could be found at the library. The biggest party at noon, anyway.

Branches across the Carroll County Public Library systems celebrated New Year’s just a bit earlier than most folks, with New Year’s at Noon events for kids of all ages.

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At the Eldersburg branch, the star event was the balloon drop at noon. Kids gathered in anticipation under the suspended balloons, handmade confetti poppers in hand.

"10, 9, 8 ... "

In the excitement, there was a false start, for the countdown. But when the clock really struck noon, library staff released the balloons, others showered the crowd with confetti cannons and the children erupted into joyful noise as color rained down around them.

Angie Knight, children’s services supervisor, guessed that the turnout had almost doubled from the year before, bringing about 300 people. It’s one of the largest library activities throughout the year, alongside the summer reading kickoff.

One of the new crafts let kids decorate confetti poppers, which they could reuse after the balloon drop. The goal was to make guests feel more involved in the countdown.

Samantha Carley brought her children Rosie, 3, and Norah, 6, to the noontime celebration for the second year in a row.

“It’s fun for the kids. They don’t stay up until midnight, and I barely can either," she said. "It makes it more of a holiday for them.”

The Eldersburg family are regulars at the library on non-holidays, too.

“It’s free, and there’s a lot of community here,” Carley said.

Activities on Tuesday included decorating reusable confetti poppers, crafting glittery 2020 window signs and filling plastic champagne-style flutes with snack mix, though there were several others. They try to shake things up every year for returning families, Knight said.

It was the third year at New Year’s at Noon for Jimmy Majka, 5, who was visiting with his grandparents after they traveled all the way from New Jersey for the holidays. He was decorating a colorful sign with “2020” as he waited for the balloon drop.

“He looked forward to this for days,” his grandmother Ida Forlano said. Jimmy said his New Year’s resolution is to play with a new car set he received for Christmas. Forlano asked if he would also make his resolution to spend time with his new baby sister born in 2019. But he replied that he didn’t need to make it a resolution because its already something he enjoys doing.

After most of the families had cleared away, the sounds of vacuuming could be heard from the children’s activities room.

As she sweeped leftover confetti into a bucket, Knight reflected, “This wouldn’t be possible without all of these amazing people who work here."

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