Local families grateful to celebrate New Year’s Eve, send off 2020

From Fountain Square to the Cincinnati Zoo, families were out and about on the last day of the year.

Local families grateful to celebrate New Year’s Eve, send off 2020

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - New Year’s Eve may look a bit different this year, but that doesn’t mean families aren’t still celebrating the end of 2020.

The Beatsch family is one of them.

“Our plans are some ice-skating bumper cars for today,” Jessica Beatsch said of the family’s trip to the ice rink at Fountain Square. “This is her first time doing both of them, so we’re really excited for that.”

All rink patrons are receiving 2021 glasses to sport while skating, and a family countdown is taking place during the conclusion of the Winter Wonder Light Show.

“I think it’s smart,” said Beatsch. “Some aren’t taking the COVID seriously, and it is a serious thing. We got our masks on. We still get to do fun things, just doing it safely this year.”

Mike Jones shares Beatsch’s sentiments.

“Just happy we can still do stuff, get out, and maybe I’ll try to stay up past 10 o’clock tonight,” Jones said.

Still, the rink’s New Year’s Eve celebration is a far cry from what it was just last year.

“It was very crowded,” Tonya Murphy recalled of 2019. “We came down and did that, and then we did the observation deck. We can’t do near as much as we used to or spend time with the people we’re used to being with.”

While many spent their New Year’s Eve out on the ice, others spent their day at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Ed Craven and his family came all the way from Arkansas for a holiday trip.

“Actually we had planned on coming to the Arc encounter and the Creation Museum, and we threw the zoo right in there with it,” Craven said. “We couldn’t come this close and not come to the zoo, and being one of the worlds most popular zoos.”

Like the ice rink, the zoo is typically more crowded on New Year’s Eve than it is in 2020, according to Cincinnati Zoo Communications Director Michelle Curley.

“Normally on New Year’s Eve we have a Happy Zoo Year celebration sponsored by Honda,” Curley explained, ‘and this year we’re not able to do what we usually do, because it would encourage people to gather in one spot, so we can’t do our usual countdown followed by fireworks.”

Instead, the zoo recorded a virtual countdown with its animals and keepers and posted it on their website.

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