BELPRE - Several hours before the ball dropped in Times Square, the arrival of 2013 had already been celebrated in Australia, South Korea, Russia and ... Belpre?
The Belpre Senior Center held a "Countdown to Noon" on the last day of 2012 to give area seniors an opportunity to mark the end of one year and start of another with music and fellowship at a reasonable hour.
"I'll be in the chair (at midnight), but I'll probably be (snoring)," laughed Belpre resident Frances Hagedorn, 92, finishing her statement with a sound effect rather than the word itself.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Waterford residents Don and Jean Boyd applaud a musical performance during Monday’s New Year’s celebration at the Belpre Senior Center.
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Belpre residents Doris Wildman, left, and Fred Fleming pose for a picture at the end of their dance Monday at the celebration.
Other area residents planned to gather with friends at local hotels and restaurants or family at home for the occasion, which many see as a hopeful time.
"Everyone likes a new beginning," said Sherri Patterson, 42, of Belpre. "It's a chance to change your life and help others and make a difference."
Patterson planned to welcome 2013 with a soundtrack provided by local band Hit Parade at the Adelphia Music Hall in downtown Marietta.
Beverly resident Marsha Quimby, 61, said she's looking forward to another year of watching her grandchildren grow up, as well as the changes might come in 2013.
"My husband may be retiring, and I'm getting near retirement age, so we're just kind of waiting to see what the new year brings us, hopefully good stuff," she said.
Quimby and her husband planned to stay up to watch the ball drop on TV.
"(We've) always done it since we've been married, so it's just kind of a tradition to see the old year go out and the new year come in," she said.
They'll also partake of the traditional New Year's dish of sauerkraut, although Quimby said she's not personally a fan, so she'll only eat a tad for good luck.
Barlow resident Ashley Yost, 30, said her family would eat pork today, another New Year's tradition - although she's not sure of the meaning behind it.
"I think that's what you're supposed to do," she said.
According to www.smithfield.com, some think pork is a good-luck food for New Year's because pigs root forward and people should do the same. Sauerkraut is often paired with it because they complement each other, plus cabbage, from which sauerkraut is made, represents paper money in German and Pennsylvania Dutch traditions.
Yost and her children - ages 11, 7 and 3 - expected to be up for the official start of 2013 on the East Coast, which she expects the children to welcome by banging pots and pans together, another long-standing New Year's tradition.
No one at the Belpre Senior Center Monday clanged any cookware, but there were plenty of waves, cheers and whistles as emcee Vicki Boggs, of Memories with Miss Vicki, counted down to noon then invited the 50 people in attendance to join her in a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne." Eleven-year-old Waterford resident Josie Boyd followed with an a capella performance of "Amazing Grace," then senior center chaplain Donna Jean Williamson offered a prayer that those in attendance not dwell on the events of the past.
"We have to leave the old year behind and remember that the new year is the present," said Williamson, 78.
This was the second or third time the Belpre center played host to a noon New Year's countdown. In addition to regulars at the center's Tuesday and Thursday luncheon, the event drew guests like Marietta resident Claudia Hensel - who treated the crowd to the song "Oh, Frost" in Russian - and Boyd's parents, Don and Jean Boyd of Waterford.
"I think it's good that people can get together and have fun and laugh a little bit," said Don Boyd, 74.
Parkersburg resident Peggy Perine, 73, said she was glad to celebrate the new year without going out late, when she would probably be asleep anyway. She said she's expecting 2013 to be a good year because the numbers are in her favor. It will be the 100th anniversary of her father's birth and "my birthday is on the 13th, so 13's a lucky number for me," she said.
Meanwhile, Belpre resident Dick Taylor, 69, is confident the calendar change will be a positive one.
"It just means the next year is going to be better," he said. "They always get better."