The location was Fountain Square, not Times Square.

The ball was on top of a pole, not on top of a skyscraper.

And the countdown ’til 12 o’clock was at 12 noon, not 12 midnight.

But still, some 150 late morning revelers welcomed in 2022 a bit early, at a “Noon Year’s Eve” celebration sponsored by the Downtown Evanston marketing organization.

A DJ played tunes, little kids danced, there was a photo booth with a “Happy New Year” background, and hot drinks and cookies were provided for free by downtown merchants.

Downtown Evanston’s Laura Brown said, “We wanted an event that would be good for families,” particularly at a time when there is so much uncertainty from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Down, down, down it goes!

Acknowledging the current reality, everyone at the event wore masks, even though it was outdoors.

Sam and Katie Milgrom, with their children, five-year-old Aiden and two-year-old Ari, were among those enjoying the fun.

Katie Milgrom said, “We wanted to be able to gather with the community and hope for a more bright and healthy 2022.”

Aiden put it another way: “This was the best party ever.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.