By Sara Hahn, 16, Mayfield Senior School
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If you’re like me, this thought may have crossed your mind: I’m young, the world is open to me. It’s the millennium in two months, one of the biggest events in time ever. And I have nothing to do! I’ve heard lots of people say that the millennium is only symbolic, that it’s not really the turning of the century, and that there was no year ‘zero.’ But to me the year 2000 is such a monumental event that I can’t sweat the particulars. Never mind the Y2K problem. Years from now I can see my kids asking me, "Mom, what did you do for the turn of the century?"

What will you do for the turn of the century? If you have no clue where you’ll be for New Year’s Eve 2000, fear no more. Lucky for you, Los Angeles is hosting five different New Year’s celebrations throughout the city, open to everyone, completely legal, completely free, and completely family-friendly.

One Wonderful Night
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza
Beginning at noon on December 31 and continuing through midnight, the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza will be closed to all traffic and will become an open-air celebration of the millennium. There will be entertainment throughout the day, including entertainers such as Lulu Washington, Zydecko and Johnny Stephens. There will also be 2,000 gospel singers, who will perform "Amen" by Jester Hairtson. For children, there will be face painting, storytelling, art workshops and more.
The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza is located at the corner of Stocker and Crenshaw Blvd. For more information you can call (213) 485-2433.

The Global Family Millennium

The Alameda at Civic Center
This celebration will begin at noon and continue until 1 a.m. There will be a large representation of the heritage of the Mexican-American community, including performances by Brazil Brazil and Tito Neves, among others. Also, you will have the opportunity to see 2,000 folk dancers performing "A Folk Dance" at the Civic Center. For children, there will be a program from 8:30 – 9:00 p.m. featuring confetti and a light show. Located at Alameda Street at Plaza Olvera, 125 Paseo de la Plaza. For more information call (310) 914-0015.

Tomorrow is Here
The Global Village on Grand Avenue
Beginning at noon, Grand Avenue will be closed to traffic to become an open-air venue. There will be many activities for families, as well as arts sales. There will be a parade of 2,000 marching band members who will march down Grand Avenue in downtown, led by USC band director Dr. Art Bartner. For children, rides including a Ferris wheel, and performances from Zendecko, Bill Elliot and Ozomatli. In the evening, there will be an L.A. Millennium Fashion Extravaganza, a Futuristic Rock Opera, and a disco carnival preceding the countdown to the New Year. Located on Grand Avenue between 1st and 5th Streets. For more information call (310) 248-4841.

The Family Global Millennium

San Fernando Valley Spectacular at Van Nuys Airport
This celebration will begin at noon with Opus 21 (see below). There will be a wide variety of foods available from many different cultures. There will also be 2,000 line dancers who will be performing the Macarena. The Main Stage will feature dance and musical performances. In the evening, musical artists such as Tierra and Indigo will be performing; the official countdown begins at 11:30 p.m. For children, there will be a Children’s Millennium featuring two children’s performances. Located at the Van Nuys Airport, corner of Balboa and Staff. For more information call (310) 914-0015.

Gateway to the Future

San Pedro/Harbor
Beginning at noon, The San Pedro Harbor will feature 2,000 drummers on parade, a Ferris wheel and food from various restaurants. There will be performances from artists El Vez, B# Quartet, Twilight Lords and more. For children, there will be face painting, puppet shows, and programs from the Maritime Museum and the Cabrillo Museum. There will be a main performance stage erected with the Lane Victory Ship and the Vincent Thomas Bridge as the backdrop. Located at the San Pedro Harbor. For more information, call (213) 687-2190.

The Hollywood Sign

Beginning at 11:30 p.m., the world-famous Hollywood sign, which can be seen from all five of these locations on a megaprojection screen, will be the focal point of theses celebrations. There will be a mile-long projection screen above the sign, a light show, and a digital countdown with lasers. At midnight, Mayor Riordan will "flip the switch" and the Hollywood sign will light up.

Opus 21

At noon on December 31, Opus 21 will begin. This musical event will be a synchronized sounding of religious musical instruments, such as bells, shofars, and chanting, from all over the city. This event will occur again at 4:00 p.m. Also, each location will feature, through video, part of the Staples Center concert featuring the Eagles and guests.

If you’re not sure that you want to be surrounded by thousands of people when the clock strikes midnight, you can always find more local organizations where New Year’s celebrations may be occurring. The Boys and Girls Club or YMCA in your area may be offering activities for youth. Numbers for these organizations can be found in LA Youth’s Teen Guide or your phone book.

So do you know where you’re going yet? I think I’ve made up my mind. What better way to celebrate this enormous event than to be in the middle of all the action, in one of the largest cities in the country? Plus, seeing 2000 performers in one space guarantees to be amusing and free concerts are always a bonus. So go out, party like it’s 1999 for the last couple of hours, and welcome the year 2000 with a bang.

To find out more, you can call (213) 485-ARTS or visit

What some teens are doing for the Millennium …

"I’m going to be with my family in Jacksonville, Florida. That’s where I was last year."
Hassan Nicholas, 16, Hamilton Music Academy

"I’ll probably be in Las Vegas visiting my aunt."
Shengul Bajrami, 15, University HS

"I have no idea."
Matthew Jones, 16, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies