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Monday, November 30, 2009

Slimmed Down First Night Set for New Year’s Eve

Now that Thanksgiving is over, thoughts turn to the end-of-year holidays and New Year’s Eve—and yes, there will be a First Night Westport. But it will be a slimmed down Image

“This year we were faced with economic challenges that had threatened the event,” wrote Barbara Pearson-Rac, First Night president, on the First Night Web site.

“But, the good news is, we have met the challenge and we are planning a New Year’s Eve party that everyone should enjoy.”

This year’s First Night, with one exception, will end at 9 p.m. with a gala fireworks display over the Saugatuck River in Westport’s center. The exception is a teen “Battle of the Bands” at Toquet Hall, the teen center, which will go to 11:30 p.m.

Part of First Night’s economic problems stemmed from the bad weather that impacted the 2009 First Night. There were 4 inches of snow on Dec. 31, 2008, and wintry winds gusting to 50 miles per hour and a wind chill in the single digits caused postponement of the midnight fireworks. (See WestportNow Dec. 31, 2008)

Pearson-Rac said organizers were able to reduce this year’s expenditures in several ways. First Night had a credit with the fireworks company because of last year’s postponement so that produced a savings.

Another money-saver was confining all venues to the downtown Westport area “so everyone can walk easily from venue to venue,” she said.

Children’s entertainment, which has been at Saugatuck Elementary School, has moved to the Westport Weston Family Y, TD Bank, the Westport Library and Town Hall.

In addition to the standbys of face painting and a caricaturist, the popular horse-drawn carriage rides will be back, Pearson-Rac said.

In view of the reduced event schedule, organizers have set a reduced $10 button charge with children under 2 admitted at no charge.


Posted 11/30/09 at 10:00 AM  Permalink


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So glad our town can still have this on their New Year’s Eve calendar. It is so meaningful to families to be able to enjoy these activities together…and, welcome in a New Year, 2010.
    The fireworks should be fantastic….and, viewable for many miles. It will also be a warmer temperature at 9 p.m…... when measured against a midnight temperature.
    All volunteers unite and please give Barbara a call that you would be delighted to help

Posted by Ann Marie Flynn on November 30, 2009 at 02:25 PM | #

I am still waiting to see last year’s fireworks, which were cancelled on New Year’s Eve without any prior notice.  While my kids and I stood outside in the cold, snow and wind and were told that the fireworks were off, we were informed that the fireworks would be rescheduled for a date in the next few weeks - not that the organizers would use this as a credit for the next year’s event.

Posted by Jeff Gershowitz on November 30, 2009 at 05:17 PM | #

This is wonderful news (that they have worked so hard to make sure First Night still would be here this Dec. 31st)!!  Thank you, because this event is a favorite for families who want top entertainment, lots of fun, and all alcohol-free for safety. 

And it sounds as though the Grinch came early this year.  Of course it must have been disappointing to have the fireworks canceled, but I remember how awful the weather was last New Year’s Eve, and thank goodness the organizers didn’t try to persuade the fireworks company to put their employees at risk by making “the show go on”.  With so much less income last year (from people who didn’t buy tickets that day), it’s a miracle that the First Night folk were able to keep the tradition going this year.  Yay!

See you on Dec. 31st with my family, and thanks for helping us out with the cost of only $10 this year for all that we will get.

Posted by Longtime Westporter on November 30, 2009 at 11:07 PM | #

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