03 January 2008

First Night Columbus

New Years Eve, we attended the First Night celebrations in Columbus. Thousands of families bought $10 buttons so they could attend a variety of events all within a one-mile walking area. Instead of having the event in the short-north area, which is where I suspected it would be, they had it on Broad Street, by City Hall and across the river in COSI and the Armory.

Unfortunately, we didn't get there until 8pm. The event times were listed as 4:30 to midnight, however the indoor events seemed to all end around 9, so we missed a lot. Our hosts, who frequented a similar event in their hometown in Colorado, seemed to be unimpressed with Columbus's version. Apparently in CO, it is more of a street fair, with events in different businesses and storefronts. In Columbus, there were a lot of jugglers, belly dancing, magicians and moonwalk type things in the very large Armory. Then across Broad Street there were events inside COSI. Then you could walk across the river for pancakes, a parade and several music venues.

I think an event like this is a natural for Fountain Square. After all, it is already a family friendly environment with the skating and Graters. I would extend the events in Cincinnati from the Westin Atrium, through the square and north down Ruth Lyon's way, and tie into events at the parking lot by the Public Library and Garfield. Additional indoor activities could happen at the Aronoff and the CAC. Alternatively, events could extend westward towards the Convention Center, but then I think you risk losing the feel of the celebration, by taking everyone into secluded indoor venues, and I think that was the downfall of the event in Columbus. Also, it seems that there is potential for an event like this to give restaurants lots of business that was missed in Columbus.

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