Adelaide Funk, 3, center, watches as balloons drop while sitting on dad Nathan Funk's shoulders during ScienceWorks Noon Year's Eve celebration Sunday in Ashland. [Photo by Denise Baratta]

Kids, adults ring in New Year

A crowd of kids and adults counted down from 10 to one, and after several tugs on a rope, two overhead nets opened up, dumping more than 1,000 balloons on the revelers heads.

Kids grabbed for the medium-sized multi-colored balloons, while the crowd bounced other balloons as large as beach balls from hand to hand, as if they were at a concert.

The fifth annual daytime celebration of New Year's Eve at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland attracted Rogue Valley residents as well as tourists. The balloons fall at noon rather than at midnight so little ones can be awake for the festivities.

Gwynn Collogne, 7, and her father, Perry Collogne, came with a goal to grab one of the giant balloons. Although the Ashlanders didn't succeed at that mission, Gwynn did manage to grab a batch of medium balloons.

But she was spending most of her time building a contraption to safeguard an egg anyway.

Gwynn used foam, egg carton pieces, tape and a makeshift parachute in an effort to protect her egg from a drop off a tall ladder.

"I hope it does not crack," she said. "Last year it didn't crack, but then my sister cracked it."

Perry Collogne said Gwynn wanted to build her egg drop contraption all by herself.

"It's nice to see her concentrated on something and putting all her energy and talent into it," he said. 

Asked about her favorite memory from 2017, Gwynn said she loved her Harry Potter-themed birthday party.

"It was not any ordinary birthday party," she said.

Using an idea off the Pinterest social media site and his dad wizardry skills, Perry Collogne created handmade wands for the birthday party guests.

"Most things I try out are complete failures," he said. "These worked out. I was stoked."

Putting no pressure on her dad, Gwynn said her goal for 2018 is to have a birthday party that becomes "my most favorite birthday of all time."

Perry Collogne has more modest aspirations.

"I was going to give up chocolate, but no one wanted to do it with me. So I want to learn how to manage my stress better," he said. 

Jude Kunz, 10, of Ashland was riding a stationary bicycle at the museum. 

He said going to Universal Studios was his favorite memory from 2017. His resolution is to buy less junk off the Internet. 

Travel adventures were also a top 2017 memory for Delaney Ballard, 7, who was visiting Ashland from Kirkland, Wash.

She went snorkeling in Hawaii and saw lots of fish, and got to do paddleboarding in a lagoon.

Her resolution for 2018?

"Going camping in the woods," Delaney said.

Her dad, Chris Ballard, said visiting Disneyland was a highlight of 2017. For 2018, he has goals to invest more money and to compete in a Spartan obstacle course race.

Portlander Jen Scales and her family were visiting Ashland friends and decided to visit ScienceWorks so their 3-year-old could have fun and burn off some energy. She also had her 6-month-old along.

Asked about her best memory from 2017, Scales said, "The birth of my child."

While she endured 24 hours of labor that ended in a C-section with her first boy, her second arrived after three hours.

"He is a mellow dude," she said of her baby. "I am so thankful. He complements his brother. Our family feels so special and complete."

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or Follow her at

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