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First Night Buffalo organizers offer details on family-friendly New Year's Eve fun

Jugglers and jumpers. A limbo queen. Ninja training.

First Night Buffalo, the family-friendly New Year's Eve party to be held in downtown Buffalo, will feature activities and entertainment for all ages, organizers said Tuesday during their preview of this year's lineup.

The alcohol- and drug-free event, in its 29th year, will run from 5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 31 in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin St.

Here's some of what organizers have on tap this New Year's Eve:

  • Kilted Colin – New this year will be an entertainer who puts a circus performance and comedy show all into one. His performances are at 5:45 and 7:45 p.m.
  • Shemika Charles, the Limbo Queen – Charles, a two-time Guinness World Record holder for limbo dancing, is also new to First Night. She performs at 5:45, 7:15 and 8:45 p.m.
  • In Jest with Nels Ross – The show combines comedy, juggling, audience participation and stunts. Performance times are 5 and 7:30 p.m.
  • Jeff Musial, the Animal Guy – The performance includes exotic and exciting animals, coupled with fun facts and jokes. He performs at 6:15 and 8:30 p.m.
  • Ninja Warrior Academy – Test your strength, agility and balance over an obstacle course. It's open from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Red Trouser Show – Acrobats juggle knives and fire. Showtimes are at 6:45 and 8:45 p.m.

Other activities include amusement rides; bounce houses; face painting and a bubble black light dance party; family portraits in front of a green screen; meeting your favorite characters from children's story books; the toddler zone; the Canisius Golden Griffins basketball challenge; superheroes Spiderman, Captain America and Iron Man mingling with the crowd; and performances by DownBeat Percussion, the drum line who performs at home games of the Buffalo Bills.

Orchard Park native and Nashville-based singer Caitlin Koch will perform at 9:30 p.m., followed by the grand finale balloon drop.

Advance tickets must be purchased online at A ticket costs $10 through Dec. 15 and $12 starting Dec. 16 up until New Year's Eve. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15 each. Tickets are not needed for children ages 2 and under.

Free parking will be available in the Fernbach ramp, which has entrances on Franklin and Pearl streets between Niagara and Court streets; as well as in the Main Place Mall parking ramp, which has an entrance on Pearl Street just south of Court Street.

The Independent Health Foundation, the main sponsor of the event, will provide updates about the event's lineup on its Facebook page.

The foundation will launch its "Future is Bright" project at First Night, aimed at showing how children can overcome challenges to lead healthy lives. An art installation will be on display at the convention center.

"We love knowing First Night has become an annual tradition for many families and we enjoy seeing them come back each year," Carrie Meyer, executive director of the Independent Health Foundation, said in a news release. "We are always pleased to continue presenting this fun and affordable event for the community to enjoy and begin a healthy, happy new year."

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