While many families will welcome the New Year with festivities at home, if you’d like to ring in 2009 with a crowd, there are a number of community celebrations around Northern Virginia on Wednesday evening. Among them are communities that celebrate with an official First Night, an alcohol-free gathering centered on the arts–making for a family-friendly friendly evening.
First Night was created by Boston artists in 1976 who offered an alternative to traditional celebrations as a finale to the city’s bicentennial events. For more information on First Night and to find a list of other cities that celebrate it, visit www.firstnight.com.
Northern Virginia First Nights
First Night Alexandria 6 pm-Midnight
Sixty five acts in 38 venues! Musical performances will be held inside Old Town Alexandria’s historic buildings and many events will be held at the Masonic Temple on Callahan Drive. At Midnight, celebrate the New Year while watching the beautiful fireworks display at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial on Callahan Drive between King and Duke Streets. Admission badges cost $20, which allows admission to all venues; children 12 and younger are free. Purchase tickets online and other retail sites; check Web sites for sites.
First Night Leesburg 6 pm-Midnight
First Night Leesburg will host over 100 wonderful performances at 20 indoor locations in downtown Leesburg. Enjoy jazz, classical music, puppet shows, bluegrass, folk music, rock & roll, magicians and much more! First Night concludes at midnight with a traditional Grand Illumination gathering on the courthouse green. Cost is $8 per person, $3 for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 and younger.
First Night Warrenton 7 pm-Midnight
First Night Warrenton will host over 50 live performances at indoor locations in downtown Warrenton. Come and enjoy jazz, classical music, puppet shows, bluegrass, folk music, magicians and much more! First Night concludes at midnight with a traditional Grand Illumination gathering on the Old Courthouse green. Cost is $8 per person, $3 for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 and younger. Special family rate of $25.
First Night Winchester 6:30 p.m.-12:30 am
New this year is a Battle of the Bands, featuring local high school muscians. Other performances include country, classical, rock’n roll, jazz, Big Band, comedians, puppeteers, jugglers, a ventriloquist, a unicyclist, and a world champion trick roper! With clowns, mimes, model trains, story-telling, face painting, dancing and more, there’s something to please everyone! At the end of the evening, we’ll meet at the intersection of Boscawen and Cameron Streets to await the traditional Apple Drop and celebrate the New Year with a spectacular fireworks show! Cost is $12; kids 5 years and younger are free. Visit the Web site for a list of retail sites where you can buy an admission button
Other New Year’s celebrations
First Fairfax 6 pm-Midnight FREE
First Fairfax festivities begin with the lighting of the Fairfax Bonfire at 6 p.m., and continue with children’s entertainment throughout various venues including the Town Hall, the Kitty Pozer Gardens and parking lot, and the Fairfax library. Entertainment nincludes magic shows, puppet shows, hot chocolate, First Lego League Robotics Exhibition & Demonstration by GiroSeekers, face painting and more.
Falls Church Watch Night 7 pm-Midnight FREE
Bring in the New Year with the annual, free, New Year’s Eve “Watch Night” celebration near the crossroads of Broad and Washington streets. A range of entertainment offerings appeals to adults, children, families, and individuals looking for fun small-town festivities. Children’s entertainment includes magicians, storytelling, face painting, and the Moon Bounce. Children, teenagers and adults can show their skills on the karaoke stage or at digital dance revolution. Live music and City restaurants are open for business within the entertainment center.
First Night Springfield 5:30 pm-Midnight
Sponsored by the Springfield Regional Arts Council, the celebration offers live music, theatre, children’s activities and more! Tickets are $8 per person, $30 for a family of four. Entertainment includes open ice skating, Chinese name painting, rock climbing and video games. New Year’s Eve festivities end with a fireworks grand finale at Midnight in Jordan Valley Park.