Residents opt for fun events

First Night Youngstown

Kyra Bell, 9, of Girard gets her face painted by Mary Maendel of Alliance at First Night Youngstown on Sunday.

YOUNGSTOWN — Dawson Drake knew he was in good hands — his mom, Michelle, and dad, Steve, had ahold of each — as the 4-year-old made his way around the ice rink Sunday inside the Covelli Centre.

The family from Mineral Ridge and some relatives from Kingsville attended the First Night Youngstown celebration for an evening of New Year’s Eve enjoyment. First Night took place in churches, businesses and other locations all around the downtown area.

Dawson’s grandmother, Gene Drake, said the family came to the Covelli Centre to ring in the start of 2017, too, and had a lot of fun.

“He (Dawson) was learning to ice skate. It was fun to watch him. I’m all about experiencing all that my grandchildren do,” Gene Drake said.

Said Steve Drake, “He tried ice skating last year and wanted to do it again.”

Robert Burke, First Night Youngstown board member, said the evening’s events were designed to bring families out for a night of fun. Various activities were planned at the SMARTS (Students Motivated by the Arts) Center, the YMCA, the Tyler History Center and more.

“This is a fun family event that is inexpensive and allows people to see all the venues Youngstown has,” Burke said.

Brittish Bell of Girard brought her daughter, Kyra Bell, 9, to the event. It marked their fourth time at First Night Youngstown.

“This event helps bring excitement to the community. It is very family oriented and fun,” Brittish Bell said

Hubbard resident Trevor Penn, 13, said he has been to First Night Youngstown every year it has been held. He was waiting to watch a hypnotist perform at Youngstown First Presbyterian Church.

Penn said his favorite activity was decorating and eating cookies at One Hot Cookie.

David and Patty Collins of Austintown said they alternate each year attending First Night Youngstown and First Night Akron,

“This year was Youngstown’s turn. Both events have a lot to do and great places to see,” said Patty Collins as the two listened to County Mayo perform music at the Youngstown Steel Museum.

At Trinity United Methodist Church, there were Harry Potter-themed activities.

“They can really have a Harry Potter experience. We have living picture frames where people can look into a room and see a Harry Potter scene with members of our church as the actors,” said Pastor Kelsey Orosan.