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First Night Worcester Gearing Up For Big Day

Saturday, December 29, 2012

 

Even after 31 years of melding the arts and community, First Night Worcester is determined to stay exciting and fresh.

“It’s a new day at First Night,” said Executive Director Howard McGinn, who has been with the organization since June. “Everything was done differently this year, from our logo, to our website, to our laser shows, to our performances.”

Boasting a partnership with the city of Worcester, a massive tent on City Hall Plaza, and a variety of fun new activities, the second-oldest First Night organization in the country is excited for the December 31 extravaganza.

There’s No Place Like Home

Among the most highly anticipated events is a performance by actress, singer and Worcester native Alicia Witt. The talented 37-year-old has appeared on hit television shows including The Mentalist, Friday Night Lights, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Sopranos and Ally McBeal. A classically trained pianist and skilled vocalist, Witt has turned her focus to music in recent years.

While Witt will make a special cross-country trek from Los Angeles to perform at Mechanics Hall, she won’t be the only celebrity in town. Singer-songwriter Ben Folds is expected to join Witt on stage, making for one of the most star-studded First Nights in the event’s history.

Elsewhere on the First Night grounds, a Live Music Tent will host nearly nine straight hours of performances, pulling from all genres of the musical spectrum. From Americana Roots to Pop to Latin music, the Live Music Tent will have a little bit of something for everyone.

Lots To Do

First Night Worcester organizers have made sure that the day won’t be all about music. McGinn says two state-of-the-art, high-tech laser shows will take place throughout the festival, one outside the Worcester Art Museum at 6:00p.m. and the other at 11:00p.m. outside City Hall Plaza.

In keeping with the theme of unique and exciting, wildly different sources of entertainment will fill the afternoon. The schedule is chock full of interesting performances including techno and ventriloquist comedy, live animal shows, hysterical illusions, poetry readings, puppet shows, and more.

Visitors more inclined to get a sweat going will flock to the Ice Skating on Worcester Common, taking place from 3p.m. until close.

Finally, the grand finale will come in the form of a fireworks show.  Visitors will gather at City Hall Plaza at 11:45p.m. to take in the spectacular New Year's tradition.

A Special Honor

Yet another new feature of this year’s First Night Worcester celebration is the implementation of an honorary grand marshal. Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray will be honored for his longstanding commitment to the Worcester community.

“Tim is a Worcester native, and his unfailing dedication to the City has left positive marks all over town,” said McGinn. “We think that deserves recognition.”

Before his time as lieutenant governor, Murray served three terms as the mayor of Worcester, a time in which the city experienced significant economic growth. At 7p.m., Murray will lead a procession through the streets around Worcester Common, ending at City Hall Plaza where he will accept an award from First Night Worcester and address the crowd.

A Commitment To Affordability

Despite the full slate of activities, McGinn and First Night organizers have made sure that prices remain affordable. First Night Worcester button prices are $7, while the Alicia Witt tickets are going at $15 a piece and includes a button.

“It’s the best deal going,” said McGinn.

For information on performances, times and locations visit First Night Worcester’s new website.
 

 

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