First Night celebrations on the Saanich Peninsula

The annual First Night New Year’s Eve celebration at the Panorama Recreation Centre is all set to go.

  • Dec. 30, 2014 10:00 a.m.

The Checkerboard Guy is coming to Panorama for First Night celebrations.

The annual First Night New Year’s Eve celebration at the Panorama Recreation Centre is all set to go, and Angela Turnbull, a Program Assistant at the Centre couldn’t be more excited.

“We’ve got swimming, skating games, activities, prizes, food, entertainment — what more could you want?”

The event kicks off at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31 with a variety of activities, all with a decidedly ‘family friendly’ focus.

In the swimming pool, there will be a lot of free play activities, with the added attraction of the large inflatables and other surprises to put a smile on the kids’ faces.

“We are selling tickets in advance for the two swims,” said Turnbull. “You can buy them online or by coming to or calling the rec centre.”

She cautions that space is limited so it’s a good idea to get tickets early.

“One swim period runs from 5 to 6:45 p.m. and another starts at 7 p.m. and goes to 8:30.”

At the arena, the holiday fun skate will feature some parent and child hockey games, as well as other games for the younger children.

“Or you can just come in and skate around and enjoy the atmosphere in the decorated arena,” said Turnbull.

Other entertainment options include participating in family games, including Panorama’s own version of ‘Minute to Win It’, or watching as the kids work off some energy in one of the variety of bouncy castles that will be set up in the tennis bubble at the centre.

“We’re also very excited that we have the Checkerboard Guy coming in to entertain everyone between 7:45 and 9 p.m.,” said Turnbull. “He juggles, tells jokes and is just a fantastic family entertainer.

“For the first time we also have a number of food vendors coming in so people will have a real choice for that casual New year’s Eve family dining,” said Turnbull.

“The food trucks are coming down to the tennis bubble and there will be tables and chairs set up for people to enjoy any one of a wide variety of food offerings.”

Door prizes are always important at First Night celebrations, and this year the recreation centre is giving away prizes that are in keeping with the family-themed event.

“We’ve got this great camping package,” said Turnbull. “There’s a four person tent, sleeping bags, mats and backpacks … an instant camping trip.”

Summer camp and activity passes are also slated for the door prize draws.

Naturally, no New Year’s celebration would be complete without fireworks and Panorama  Recreation is determined not to disappoint.

“We’ll be having a great fireworks show at 9 p.m.,” said Turnbull. “It’s set to go a little earlier than some other New Year’s celebrations, but remember that this is a family event. We think the timing is perfect. A great way to usher in a new year.”

— Tim Collins/News staff

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