Christmas in Nanaimo: Finale bids 2011 a fond farewell

For those wanting to say goodbye to 2011 and welcome 2012, Finale takes place Dec. 31 at Beban Park.

Families can say goodbye to 2011 and usher in the new year during parks

Families can say goodbye to 2011 and usher in the new year during parks

For those wanting to say goodbye to 2011 and welcome 2012, Finale takes place Dec. 31 at Beban Park Recreational Centre with a few changes to the family event.

Finale kicks off at 5 p.m. and runs to 10 p.m. instead of the usual countdown at midnight.

“We’ve always had a countdown at 10 p.m. for families with young children and a lot of people leave right after that,” said Teresa Harwood, recreation coordinator. “And when starting at 7 p.m., we lost a lot of families with pre-school children who couldn’t stay late.”

Finale will still have an 8 p.m. countdown for the younger children, and then a New Year’s Eve countdown at 10 p.m.

Entertainment includes magic with the Illusion Entertainment Group, music with the Braeden Marshal Band, Purple Pirates children’s entertainers and the Vibe Dancers.

Tickets are $25 for a family of four, or $10 per person.

For more information, please go to www.nanaimo.ca or call 250-756-5200.

Meanwhile, anyone who can’t spend the holidays in New York City, parks, recreation and culture is bringing New York to Nanaimo.

Staff at Beban Park are busy transforming  the centre into a Winter Wonderland over the holidays.

This year’s theme at Frank Crane Arena is Rockefeller Center featuring ‘loonie’ skate sessions Dec. 26-30 with complimentary skate and helmet rentals.

Skate times include Boxing Day (Dec. 26) from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Dec. 27-30 from 11:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and 7:45-9:30 p.m.

For those who prefer  wet holiday fun, parks, recreation and culture hosts a series of special events including Space Explorer Saturday (Nov. 26) from 10 a.m. to noon at Beban Pool, and Happy Holidaze Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) from 2-4 p.m. at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.

Special holiday swims also take place at the NAC Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 from noon to 5 p.m.

And what would winter holidays be with out camping – parks and rec style?

Both the Winter Chill Camp  for children ages  five to 10, and XploreSportz Camp (seven to 12 years old)  run Dec 19-22 at Beban Park. Participants must pre-register at ireg.nanaimo.ca or 250-756-5200.