Science Central got the “drop” on New Year’s Eve revelers around the country New Year’s Eve with its annual Countdown to Noon. At the crack of noon, 2022 balloons were dropped from three locations in the building to the awes and cheers of hundreds of kids and their parents.

According to Steve Clark, Science Central marketing manager, the organization has only missed one Countdown since 1996. That, of course was last year when it was cancelled due to COVID-19. “Six volunteers spent a couple days blowing up the balloons with the aid of a machine with several air nozzles. Each balloon had the logo of Countdown sponsor Lake City Bank emblazoned on it. They’ve been sponsoring this event for the past 10 years,” Clark said.

“This year’s Countdown had a couple of firsts,” said Clark. “This is the first year we’ve split the balloon drop into three large bed-sheet bags located in three different areas in the building. Our reasoning for this was that because of COVID-19 we should be social distancing the attendees. The other first was at 2 p.m. when we had a one-bag balloon drop, in order to include kids and parents who couldn’t make the noon drop.”

In the time leading up to the balloon drop, visitors could make Science Central smokestack hats, maracas from plastic spoons and eggs and participate in a scavenger hunt. Of course, all the other hands-on activities that have made Science Central such a fun/educational place to visit for the past 26 years were available.

Minutes before the Countdown to Noon began, Lake City Bank regional manager Bruce Wright told the assembled crowd that “this is the greatest New Year’s Eve party in town.”

:When you put kids, balloons and science together you’ve got a great event. Science Central is a community gem!” Wright added.

Ten seconds before noon, Science Central Executive Director Martin Fisher began calling numbers starting with 10. The crowd chimed in as individuals held up numbers. At 1, all three bags were released and the colored balloons floated down. As soon as balloons hit the floor, explosions like shotgun blasts began echoing around the building as kids stomped on them.

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