Giant serpent puppeteers, musicians and impromptu performers took to the streets of downtown Monday night to ring in 2013 Tacoma-style with First Night.
Kayla Martinez, 7, didnt have time for an interview Monday, she said about 6:30 p.m. while wielding a flashing light saber from atop her grandfathers shoulders.
I want to see the parade, she said. I want to see it first.
At the corner of Broadway and South Ninth Street, she was set for a prime view of the crowd, which went from Seventh to Ninth. Other festivities downtown included ice skating at the Franciscan Polar Plaza, live music at several stages and venues, and scavenger hunts.
Beverly Newman of Tacoma wasnt as anxious to be out in the cold.
She found a spot inside the Tullys at Ninth and Broadway and watched the crowd with a warm drink in hand.
Its cold out there, she said with a laugh. I can see it just fine from here.
The Mayan calendar inspired some of the puppets in this years parade, but other marchers joined without costume or routine.
Cliff Johnston said he was celebrating First Night because he liked the idea of being with fellow Tacomans on the holiday. Walking in the parade was a time for him to remember his years in the city.
He pointed out where the Three Keys restaurant used to be, where he was a busboy in 1967, as the crowd went past.
If you really wanted to impress a date, thats where youd take them, he said.
He wasnt sure hed make it till midnight, but he intended to try.
Others were focusing on the year ahead.
Greg Murphy, of Murphs BBQ, said from his First Night stand that his New Years resolution is to make more money. He saw profits slowly pick up this year after taking a hit in the recession and is hopeful that his business, started in 1968, will do even better in 2013.
If you work hard, you should be getting paid for it, he said while grilling a pineapple burger for a customer. Last year was all right. If you work at it, this year it should come.
Tom Llewellyn carried a giant paper mache head on a stick in the parade, which he got at a garage sale for $10.
We have no idea who it is, he said while walking with his family. It was appropriate for First Night, he said. Do-it-yourself, local Tacoma, big-head-on-a-stick kind of spirit.
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268