The DakotaDome on The University of South Dakota campus will be transformed from an athletic and educational facility to a virtual playground for area citizens of all ages to enjoy. The evening will feature a myriad of activities sure to entertain and inspire this New Year's Eve.
John Mueller, building engineer assistant with Facilities Management at USD came up with the idea almost nine years ago. The first Celebrate Vermillion was held Dec. 31, 1998, to ring in the year 1999.
"A number of years ago we were invited to a friend's house for a New Year's Eve celebration," he said. "The whole night was planned for the family, including the kids, and I thought this is really fun. Then I read an article about a celebration they have at Illinois State University called 'First Night.' It is also centered around the family. That's where this idea came from."
The idea is based on a family-oriented, alcohol-free and tobacco-free celebration.
"The committee for the 2006 Celebrate Vermillion event has been meeting since September, planning the activities associated with the evening," reports Genevieve Evans Taylor, co-chair of the Celebrate Vermillion Committee. "This family-centered event promises to be an incredible celebration for all ages. A few of the activities include a kiddy carnival, swimming, blow-up novelty activities, dodge ball, local high school bands, DJ music, karaoke and fireworks at midnight."
Mayor Dan Christopherson has been a Celebrate Vermillion committee member since its inception. "This program provides a great community service and is a wonderful opportunity for a family to usher in the new year. We strive to offer activities for all age groups and provide an alcohol- and smoke-free environment for family entertainment. I invite everyone from surrounding communities to join with Vermillion citizens at the DakotaDome on Dec. 31 to celebrate the new year."
The doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and the fun-filled evening is open to the public. The committee has worked hard to collect sponsorship money in order to produce this great event with a minimal charge of $3 at the door. Children 3 and under are admitted free.
Celebrate Vermillion gold sponsors include The University of South Dakota, City of Vermillion, First Bank and Trust in Vermillion, First Dakota National Bank, First National Bank of South Dakota, Polaris Industries, Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center, Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo. Silver sponsors participating in Celebrate Vermillion include CorTrust Bank, Culhane Communications and Mid-American Energy. In addition, Pamida and Hy-Vee stores are providing prizes for the evening activities.
As with any event of this size, the need for volunteer help from the community is paramount to the success of the evening. Any community member who is interested in volunteering at Celebrate Vermillion is encourage to contact the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company at 624-5571.