Homewood families get early jump on 2013
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com December 31, 2012 4:02PM
Children and parents ring in the new year with a party and noon balloon drop at the H-F Park District Auditorium in Homewood Monday, December 31, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 2, 2013 6:20AM
After a countdown led by Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld, about 400 revelers rejoiced at the stroke of high noon Monday to welcome the new year.
Well, when most of those at a party aren’t going to be awake at midnight, you celebrate at noon, Hofeld said.
For the 13th straight year, Homewood held a family-oriented New Year’s Eve celebration in the village auditorium. And when the clock hit noon, hundreds of balloons that had been suspended high above in netting floated down to the floor, to the delight of a large gathering of children.
Top it off with free juice boxes, 400 sliders from White Castle, and a 45-minute magic show by Mr. D — alias Dirk Spence, of Tinley Park — it’s no wonder countless smiling faces gave an enthusiastic early welcome to 2013.
“Awesome,” was 5-year-old Benjamin Labno’s review of the magic show.
Big brother Andrew, 7, said his favorite part “was when the girl was in midair,” referring to a levitation trick that had even his parents, Dave and Kacy Labno, shaking their heads in disbelief.
“This was a fun event. It’s our first time here and it may become a new tradition,” Dave Labno said.
It already is a tradition for Sherry Luckhaupt, who brought granddaughter Alli Fernandez, 5, for a third straight year.
“A laugh a minute. The things we do for love,” said Luckhaupt, of Homewood.
Alli liked the magic, and Luckhaupt liked that admission was free.
Phil Kosanovich, chairman of the village’s community relations commission, was pleased to see so many show up on a chilly Monday morning.
“That’s fabulous. It’s all about instilling the sense of community, which is what Homewood’s all about. Today is about the children,” Kosanovich said.
Mr. D was making his first appearance at the event after appearing at the village’s chili fest in the fall. During the show, he borrowed Kosanovich’s wedding ring for one of his tricks. Kosanovich did get the ring returned intact.
Mr. D enjoyed the undivided attention of the children, some of whom he recruited for tricks.
“I was surprised we had such a good turnout at 11 in the morning,” Mr. D said.
During the show, he frequently told children they can learn about magic at their local library.
“I always promote reading in the shows. Go to the library and they can make a lot (of tricks). The homemade stuff is the best stuff there is. The floating table is homemade, so much of it is homemade,” Mr. D said.
Robin Latman took a break from preparing for a big New Year’s Eve party in her Homewood home to bring her three children — ages 10, 8 and 3 — to the event.
“This was a good time, a lot of fun for everyone,” she said.
Hofeld was glad the crowd make quick work of the 400 White Castle sliders.
“One time, we had healthy food. Carrot sticks, things like that,” Hofeld said with a smile that said that carrots may be healthy but sliders are so tasty.