WYOMING — It was just three minutes to noon Sunday as roughly 100 families, many equipped with party blowers, hand-clappers and the like, gathered in an open space between three inflatable bounce houses inside Super Bounce at the Midway Shopping Center.
With just seconds left on the clock, many started counting down from 10, eagerly awaiting the pastel balloons that would soon fall from the ceiling.
As the clock struck noon, children screamed with joy, using whatever party favor they had handy while jumping up to catch a balloon of their own.
Super Bounce owners Michael and Aubrey Ginocchietti held their first “Countdown to Noon” New Year’s Eve party Sunday, allowing children the chance to usher in the new year in a fun and safe way — and much earlier in the day than usual — with their families.
The event included an array of the businesses bounce houses, along with free cookies, coffee and face-painting.
Just pulling out a fresh try of cookies, Aubrey explained that she got the idea to hold a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party from the popular Facebook group Macaroni Kid Wilkes-Barre, an online public forum that informs parents of family-friendly, community activities going on in the local area.
“My kids, I know, will not stay up until midnight. So we did this, so all the young kids can have a way to ring in the new year with their families,” she said.
After ringing in the final noon of 2017, the children scrambled to resume whatever fun they were having before the countdown as their parents looked on.
Watching her daughter play at a nearby inflatable, Dallas resident Alexandria Lee said the event sounded like a great way to spend a New Year’s Eve afternoon while involving younger children in the celebratory event.
“We heard about it on Facebook, and we decided to come because midnight is obviously hard for a 4-year-old to hang onto,” she said with a laugh. “It gets their energy out during the day, makes it fun and ready for naptime.”
In the next bounce house over from Lee, 4-year-old Chloe Dymond was busy playing a game of hide-and-seek with her friend. With a smile from ear-to-ear, Dymond spared a few seconds from her game to say what she liked about the event before running back into the inflatable and finding a new place to hide.
“I like everything,” she happily replied, citing the balloon drop as well as the bounce houses themselves.
Across the room, Lenny and Lindsay Jankowski, of Plains Township, were busy watching their 2-year-old son, Anthony, navigate his way through a special bounce house for tots. While the family has patronized Super Bounce in the past, they were blown away by the event — and by the amount of people in attendance.
“I thought it was really cute, I couldn’t believe how many people showed up,” Lenny said.
He explained that the event allowed him to share a special moment with his son that would otherwise be difficult. His son was also able to have positive social interactions with other children in a safe environment.
“I would love to be able to see more events like this,” he said, suggesting a Valentine’s Day or Easter-themed party. “Something where they get to interact with all different kids, because maybe a lot of kids don’t get to see this on a daily basis.”