Thousands brave cold for brand-new New Year's Eve party at California's Great America

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- New Year's Eve necessities were met at California's Great America, Monday night.

Festive lights, family fun and fireworks gave guests endless possibilities for what the night could become.

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"I can't really pick," Shripriya Kalvhav told ABC7 News there are so many surprises for the new year.

Surprises like "snow" over the South Bay. While artificial snowflakes were falling, the chill was real.

"It is chilly out here," Park-goer, Eduardo Hernandez said. "But we'll get through it."

Many in attendance say they anticipate the new year will be just as colorful, bright and booming as the night's sky.

"Firecrackers are my favorite," John'nae Murray, nine, said. "Sometimes the little sparklers, and sometimes the big bombs."

Lucky for John'nae, California's Great America delivered. Fireworks flew over the WinterFest crowd.

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Since Nov. 23, the park has celebrated WinterFest, transforming into a winter wonderland and holiday festival. Monday's NYE party signaled the end of WinterFest.

Guests were given two opportunities to countdown on the West Coast. At 9:00 p.m., fireworks were sent into the sky for 10-minutes. The firework spectacular coincided with the East Coast countdown. An explosion of confetti was scheduled for midnight.

If the new year cheer is any indication of what the future holds, 2019 should come with plenty of promise for visitors.

Sean Whalen from Los Altos was with his two young children when he told ABC7 News, "We're excited for a great new year and a great 2019!"

While some were waiting to officially countdown to midnight, others say they are simply counting their blessings.

"I had a stroke in 2017," Bay Area resident, Jan Hornage said. "I just thank God for letting me see another year."

A monumental year that is sure to make 2019 all the more special for Hornage.

"The festive, the lights, the friends, the family, the fun- yes this is the mood for 2019," Hornage said.
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