FOR THE KIDS NEW YEAR’S : Child’s Play : Youngsters 5 to 11 can party all night as Oxnard’s parks department baby-sits.
New Year’s Eve isn’t just for grown-ups. Kids like to stay up until that magical hour, if only to blast in the new year with all the ear-splitting noise they can muster.
They can do just that at the New Year’s Eve slumber party sponsored by the Oxnard Parks and Recreation Department. For the fourth year in a row the city is holding the all-night party for kids aged 5 to 11.
The one-of-a-kind party is a boon to kids as well as parents.
The kids can party until they drop into their sleeping bags, and the parents can go out on the town without worrying about rushing home to relieve the baby-sitter.
“Parents can rest assured their children are being cared for by a trained staff and that they are having a good time,” said Silvia Mathews, recreation coordinator for the city.
The giant slumber party is held in Oxnard Community Center, 800 Hobson Way. The party begins at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and ends at 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day. The cost is $20. Parents can sign up their children at the recreation department, 325 South A St. There is space for 30 children.
The kids need to bring only a sleeping bag, pillow, pajamas and a toothbrush. The fun begins as soon as they get there.
In past years the staff has staged relay races--everything from carrying water in a spoon to extracting one’s shoes from a pile of shoes and putting them on.
“We made sure they had a good time,” said Deanna Rodriguez, who has helped chaperon two of the parties. The kids can also listen to music, watch videos or play board games. They can make craft items out of wood and paint them. They can gorge on snacks all night too.
As midnight approaches, the real fun begins. The kids are given noisemakers and hats. The staff holds a countdown and soon the place is alive with confetti, streamers and balloons--and noise.
“They just go wild,” Rodriguez said.
The kids are allowed to stay up as long as they want. Rodriguez remembers one 11-year-old boy who watched movie after movie, determined to make it until morning. The kids are served breakfast before their parents pick them up.
High school kids can whoop it up on New Year’s Eve with a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm.
Tim MacKenzie, youth pastor at Ventura Missionary Church, is busing kids to the amusement park for a special celebration.
The bus leaves Ventura at 5 p.m. for the two-hour trip. The midnight countdown is accompanied by fireworks.
The park will be open until 1 a.m. with rides operating and several bands performing. Buses return to Ventura at 3 a.m.
MacKenzie expects 75 to 80 youths to make the trip in a bus and two vans. To reserve a spot, call the church, 656-0500. The cost is $18.
For older kids who want to dance the night away, the Conejo Recreation and Park District is sponsoring a New Year’s Eve Dance in the Teen Center, 1375 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks.
Music will be provided by the band Audio Fetish. Tickets are $4 at the door. The dance, for kids 13 to 18, runs from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
WHERE AND WHEN
The Oxnard Parks and Recreation Department’s New Year’s Eve slumber party for kids 5 to 11 years will be at the Oxnard Community Center, 800 Hobson Way. For more information call 984-4643.
Ventura Missionary Church is offering high school kids a New Year’s Eve excursion to Knott’s Berry Farm. For information and reservations call 656-0500.
A New Year’s Eve dance for teens, sponsored by the Conejo Recreation and Park District, will be at the new teen center, 1375 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. For more information call 496-2463.