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SALT LAKE CITY -- New Year's Eve is still two days away, but both the countdown and the celebrating are already on. Salt Lake City's event to ring in 2011, called EVE, begins Wednesday night with all sorts of activities.
One of the signature events is a four-story ski jump. The key ingredient is snow, but there was no snow in Salt Lake most of the day Wednesday. So they had to bring the snow in.
Ironically, snow prevented dump trucks from getting up the canyons, so instead they headed to Alpine to gather enough snow for the four-story tall ski jump where athletes will perform tricks for the three-night EVE celebration.
Responding to concerns from prior years, 75 percent of events will be indoors, including Bouncetown, a 60,000 square foot devoted to all things bounce, and the 2,000 beach ball dance party called the "Ballroom."
Madison Winnie said, "I think it's pretty cool. I like how it's called the Ballroom and how there's actually literally a bunch of balls. I'm excited to see how it's going to turn out tonight with all of the people in here. It'll probably be really cool."
Event director Chris Condi said, "Unfortunately, someone has to deflate all of these beach balls. I'm hoping it's not me. We'd like to use them again and again. We hope everybody comes down and has a great time in here. We want to see how the crowd responds. If they love it, we'd be happy to bring it back next year."
The aim is to make EVE a nationally known travel destination, a boon to downtown restaurants and hotels.
Steve Lundgren, the general manager of the Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, said, "It's a great thing. Every time an organization brings something to Salt Lake City that brings crowds is good for us. EVE is right outside our front door, so it's fabulous. We get a lot of pedestrian traffic and we get quite a few people to stay here with us."
The only hitch, so far, has been attempts to light up a massive praying mantis.
"Couldn't quite get the fire marshal to agree to the flamethrowers on top of the praying mantis but we're going to work on it. We're going to make whatever changes we need to so next year if we bring the mantis back, look for a lot of fire," Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, said.
Tickets to the event are $10. EVE starts Wednesday night, continues Thursday night and concludes Friday with a big fireworks display at midnight.