The 1960s live-action TV show "Batman" punctuated action sequences with super-imposed onomatopoeic words:
Bang! Pow! Boom!
The same words could be used when describing the sounds and action of the first day of the third EVE celebration held throughout downtown Salt Lake City on Thursday.
EVE, a three-day New Year's celebration sponsored by the Downtown Alliance, has added activities this year to captivate the young, the college-age and older people. The most notable installments include the 40-foot-high Temple of Boom outside the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center, and the Crash Box inside the Salt Palace. The latter urges children to bang on garbage cans until their Advil-popping parents drag them away.
"We do have earplugs," Brian Higgins said helpfully. He designed the Crash Box and spent much of the past week scouring local home-improvement stores for aluminum garbage cans.
With 31 cans, 30 can covers and 150 drumsticks positioned in the north lobby of the Salt Palace, the Crash Box also had local students volunteering to help children develop a cadence like that heard near the summertime drum circle at Liberty Park.
"It's hard to do because there's no set rhythm," said 14-year-old Michael Kavoukas, a drummer from South Davis Junior High in Bountiful, as younger kids wailed away with wild abandon.
Adults seemed to be most drawn to the Temple of Boom at the corner of 200 South and West Temple, which in part could have been explained by the nearby beer tent. An eye-popping electronic music installation with a 40-foot Mayan temple at the top, the structure was mounted by five fire-throwers that shot fireballs 30 feet into the air. With DJs and electronica performers manning the stage underneath the temple, the installation drew fans like moths to a flame. One such fan was Salt Lake City resident Ananda Fay Blackmore, 21. She swayed to the synths and drum machines, mentioning that she saw the Temple of Boom at the past two Burning Man festivals in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.
The Crash Box and Temple of Boom added to the joyful cacophony of the Salt Palace's Grand Ballroom, where people tripped the light fantastic to dance music amid 2,012 beach balls, as well as a reggae festival held in one of the exhibit halls scheduled to run until midnight. Another favorite was Bouncetown, a city of inflatable playgrounds that attracted the same demographic as the Crash Box. One notable new addition was three 20-foot-tall inflatable beavers.
One of the more popular people inside Bouncetown was Ogden resident Michael Sauls, otherwise known as Mike the Balloon Man. Sauls, wearing a hat that consisted of 14 balloons, told children he could make them a balloon animal from 200 (!) choices. The most requested animals, he said, were dogs and butterflies, though the nonanimal sword was also popular. "I can make anything," he said.
The Salt Palace which organizers dubbed the Unconventional Center was just one of the venues holding EVE-related events throughout downtown. Other included the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Temple Square, Clark Planetarium, the Off-Broadway Theatre and Broadway Centre Cinemas. A $15 wristband allowed entry to all of the venues and events for all three nights.
The turnout was larger than last year, perhaps because of the unseasonably warm 45-degree weather (as opposed to last year's snowstorms). For those who chose to pay $15, many said they would take advantage of other events that will conclude at midnight on New Year's Eve.
"I'm definitely coming back," said Blackmore. "Why not?"
The party continues Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m.-midnight.
Where • Downtown Salt Lake City, with the main staging area on West Temple between 100 and 200 South and in the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center.
Tickets • $12 in advance at Harmons and Maverik locations or at http://EVEslc.com. Also available at the gate for $15. The ticket is good for all three nights, and kids 10 and younger get in for free.
Fireworks • Midnight on Saturday on West Temple.
Info • Schedule information at http://EVEslc.com. In addition, downtown hotels are offering EVE packages and special room prices.