BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For 28 years, First Night Buffalo has been a safe alternative for families to enjoy New Year’s Eve downtown, and Saturday, nearly 5,000 people took part in that annual tradition.

The five-hour event at the Buffalo Convention Center boasted rides, magic shows, special performances, and more. The night culminated in a New Year countdown with a balloon drop.

For many families, it’s an annual tradition.

"They were coming as children, now they're bringing their children. So grandparents are bringing their grandchildren. They really do appreciate it. It's a safe, healthy atmosphere,” said volunteers with Independent Health.

First Night is alcohol free, it's indoors, and each room and floor have something different to offer.

"This is my first time here, and so far, it's excellent,” said a grandmother, who showed off face paint that matched her granddaughter.