A Drug Free New Year's Tradition Returns to The Convention Center

December 1, 2011 Updated Dec 1, 2011 at 2:38 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

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December 1, 2011 Updated Dec 1, 2011 at 2:38 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - New Years is at time for resolutions to make life a bit better. In Buffalo, many families will kick off 2012 on the right foot, with a little help.

"We are going to turn the Convention Center into a carnival upstairs and downstairs we'll have entertainment for kids and families of Western New York," Carrie Meyer with Independent Health Foundation said.

Independent Health Foundation, Western New York United Against Drugs and Alcohol, your very own Channel 7 and others will be presenting the 23rd Annual First Night Buffalo on New Years Eve at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. A kick-off event Thursday featured a little sneak peek with Pancake the Pig and Jeff Musial with his spider Monkey.

Kids and teens all over the area are excited for the event and they said it's fun with a good message.

"On holidays you want to spend it with family instead of getting drunk or doing drugs. You want to spend it with your family," Emma Ianda with Western New York United Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse said.

Dr. Michael Cropp with Independent Health said along with their drug-free message, the event can also be the start of a new way of life.

"We think it's a wonderful way to celebrate the end of a new year and make commitments going forward as a community and as family members.
We think it's a great time for families to committee to doing something good for themselves and loved ones," Cropp said.

Mayor Byron Brown was at the kick off event and gives First Night two thumbs up.

"It's all about health and responsibility, bringing families together in a very safe and health and responsible way but it is tremendous fun as well," Mayor Brown said.

The festivities begin at 5 p.m. on December 31st and tickets are eight dollars pre-sale and 10 bucks at the door. The entire family is welcome.

"The whole concept is to come out and spend time as a family in a safe environment and what a better way to ring in the New Year than at First Night," Meyer said.