Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Year's Eve Celebrations 2008-2009: Morris County NJ Continues the First Night Tradition

Twenty years ago, during my first holiday season after graduating from college, I went up to Boston to visit one of my best high school girlfriends, Grey Hound, and learned about Boston's tradition for celebrating New Year's Eve. Even though it is technically the last night of the old year, Bostonians call their celebration "First Night." First Night is an outdoor artistic and cultural celebration on New Year's Eve, taking place from afternoon until midnight. The event celebrates a community's local culture, often featuring music, dance, comedy, art, and always has plenty of food, fireworks, and ice sculptures. Most entertainment is freely available outside, but admission to indoor events requires the simple purchase of a First Night button, whose profits support the celebration as a whole. First Night celebrations are generally alcohol free. The First Night tradition was started in Boston in 1976 by a small group of artists, and its popularity quickly made it an annual event. Soon other surrounding communities started their own First Night celebrations. In 1993, First Night International (click here to find the First Night celebration closest to you) became a non-profit organization dedicated to helping other cities set up their own celebrations. It has since spread to cities all over the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand.

This year marks our family's sixth New Year's Eve celebration in New Jersey, and Rex and I have always taken the girls out for an early dinner -- Opah Grill in Peapack-Gladstone, Pierre's in Harding Township, Plucky's Tavern at the Pluckemin Inn in Pluckemin -- and end up back at home, playing board games, making popcorn, and watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV. For the first time, London and Maddie seem to be about the right age for us to consider the First Night Morris County event on the Green in Morristown, New Jersey. I'm going to outline some of the kid-friendly events and performers here as we make our plans, and I would love to hear from anyone who has attended Morristown's First Night celebration in past years.

Continue reading (Kid Friendly Events and Performers at First Night Morris County NJ 2008-2009)