Family first

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

For those looking to avoid the usual adult-themed revelry of New Year's Eve, First Night Columbus has a full series of events in the Downtown area to keep your holiday full of family fun and alcohol free. The night culminates with a countdown to 2009 at the Grand Finale on Capitol Square.

Kids can enjoy face painting, juggling exhibitions, balloon creations (with a life-size motorcycle) and the Creation Station, where they can make masks and costumes to wear for the festivities.

Teens can let loose with an American Idol-like contest at Veteran's Memorial. Local singers will compete for the chance to be crowned First Night Columbus' Teen Idol and perform on stage at the Grand Finale.

Grown-ups can check out belly dancers and drum troupes at Veterans Memorial, listen to live music, including the Fabulous Johnson Brothers (pictured), or stop by City Hall for dancing, musical chairs and ice corn hole.

On view at COSI for no extra charge is the Holiday Lights explosion show and Saturday Morning Cartoons From Around the World, an animated film fest that includes eight shorts by international filmmakers. First Night tickets are $10 in advance/$12 the day of.

What: First Night Columbus

When: 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 31

Where: Various locations, Downtown