First Night turns 21 yet remains alcohol-free

First Night turns 21 yet remains alcohol-free

Becky Hoving, Staff Writer

As 2014 comes to a close and many start to think about ways to bring in the New Year, make sure to keep Westport’s First Night celebration in mind. This alcohol and drug free New Year’s Eve celebration begins at 4 pm and comes to a close at 10 pm. All one needs to access downtown Westport venues is a First Night button, which can be purchased on their website for $15, where additional information on performers and a map are available.

First Night originally began in Boston, and for the past 39 years has been providing a drug free, alcohol free New Year’s eve celebration of the arts. This year, Westport celebrates its 21st First Night, and includes a plethora of “First Night Firsts,” as Board President Barbara Pearson calls them.

“This year, Jim Spinnato, a comic hypnotist will be performing in Town Hall,” Pearson said.

“He performs on college campuses around the country and appeals to a youthful to adult audience.”
If comedy and hypnosis, a combination that can’t be beat, doesn’t sound appealing enough, then perhaps local blue pianist Mark Naftlalin’s performance at the Historical Society is.

Additionally, The School of Rock will be performing at Toquet Hall, and Jesup Green will have a warming fire, the “perfect place to meet and socialize with friends, and stay warm,” Pearson commented.

The celebration continues with a fashion show  presented by the New England Fashion and Design Association featuring a Project Runway winner Layana Aguilar and young local designers. While The Groove Trio and The Survivors Swing Band will keep Westport attendees dancing into the new year, Westport Astronomical Society will have telescopes set up for star gazing on Jesup Green.

Emily Greenberg ‘16 will be volunteering at the a few of the locations, but this isn’t her first First Night.

“I used to go when I was little, and I remember getting my face painted and having the best time,” Greenberg explained. “It wasn’t until this year that I realized that First Night wasn’t just fun for younger kids, but is great for teens too.”

The volunteer based celebration has a few openings for anyone with a few hours to spare, as volunteers at the Inflatable Park at Saugatuck Elementary School are still needed until 8:30 p.m.

Finally, the all anticipated firework display will close the night, and can be viewed from Jesup Green.