LIMA — On a snowy New Year's Eve evening, a horse and carriage clunked through the dusting of snow in front of the Lima YMCA, filled with bundled up parents and children.
The horse and carriage rides are a favorite among regular YMCA New Year's attendees, particularly for sisters Ginny Hill and Pat Burg, of Lima, who’ve made the trip to the Y an annual tradition for their children.
“It’s really fun when there’s snow on the ground,” said Burg, 48, who brought her 7-year-old son, Patrick.
“Sometimes there’s big lines,” said Hill, 49. “That’s why we wanted to do it first.”
The YMCA hosted many family activities to celebrate the New Year. Inside the facility, there was an open swim, racquetball, line dancing lessons and an inflatable playground. Other New Year's activities in Lima included a fiesta at the Bradfield Center, the Lima Symphony Orchestra’s annual performance and a drug-free, alcohol-free promoted teen party at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Hill brought her son for the YMCA festivities for many years, but because he’s 18 now, she came out with her sister to enjoy it with her son. The two watched Patrick play in the pool from the bleachers above, waving and taking photos of him in the water. Afterward, they were going to celebrate at home.
“We don’t need fireworks. We do pots and pans like what we did when we were kids,” Hill said.
In the crowded gym full of excited children, Betty Cotton, 27, stood in line with her 3-year-old daughter, Nazila. She was waiting to climb through an inflatable rainbow caterpillar that stretched about 30 feet across the gym.
“She said you go in the mouth and go out the butt,” Cotton said with a laugh. “We come here every year. It’s something to do with the kids.”
Cotton’s other daughter, Ajanae, 6, was also enjoying the inflatable slides and activities.
Meanwhile, a dance instructor was teaching a line dancing lesson upstairs. Chad Kinnear, 35, his wife Megan, 33, and their three daughters, Juliette, 7, Elizabeth, 4, and Isabelle were among a group of families who tried out the dance.
“It’s a great thing to do with the family,” he said. “The girls love it and it’s free.”
One-year-old Isabelle, wearing a pink dress and her hair in pigtails, tried her best to learn the dance, but mostly giggled and bounced to the beat.
Being members of the YMCA, “it’s familiar, and we feel comfortable here,” Chad Kinnear said.
Down the street, partygoers were filling their plates with nachos and tacos at the Bradfield Center, where In Faith Ministries was hosting a New Year's celebration. They had dancers, Gospel performer M.C. Righteous, as well as a puppet show and karaoke session.
“There’s something for all ages,” said Jerica Humphrey, who emceed the event.
For Phyllis Ward, who’s new to Lima, it was a way to spend time with her family. Her son is a minister at In Faith Ministries, and many of her grandchildren were there.
“It’s turning out really nice, despite the weather,” she said, as more people packing into the Bradfield Center gym. “It looks like everybody’s enjoying themselves.”