First Night 2011 entertains children at CBC

PASCO -- McKenna Keng's soft voice got louder as the afternoon passed.

As a volunteer at a kids inflatable jumping cage at First Night Tri-Cities on Friday afternoon, the Kamiakin High School student tried to use her "inside voice."

But as the Byron Gjerde Center at Columbia Basin College in Pasco began to fill with kids -- and the noise level climbed -- Keng's voice got louder and more commanding.

"Only three allowed in the dragon at a time," she soon bellowed with confidence.

Keng was one of more than a hundred volunteers helping at CBC on New Year's Eve.

In a nearby room, everyone was being loud. It was a performance of Wiggle Like a Fish.

The children's musical act, complete with a man-sized fish that did indeed wiggle, sang songs about being grumpy and other childhood feelings.

Rita Fryer brought her three kids, Elijah, 6, Carter, 3, and Tansy, 3, to get their faces painted and see the magic show.

Fryer said she hadn't gone to First Night for several years, when it was in downtown Kennewick.

"I used to think it was for old people when my parents used to go," Fryer said.

But when the family oriented celebration moved to CBC in Pasco a few years ago, she started bringing her kids.

"Once I had kids and was looking for family activities, I came back," she said.

After his face paint had dried, she carefully placed a pirate patch on her son, Carter, as he was looking toward the inflatable jumping cages with his good eye.

Geri Sage brought her grandkids to First Night and watched as Sean, 4, bounced around the jumping cage. She said the family enjoyed coming to CBC for the celebration instead of the separate celebrations that used to be held in Kennewick and Richland.

"It's really nice to come over here with the kids," Sage said.