Dec 27, 2013
09:03 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Connecticut First Night Celebrations Ring in New Year with a Bang!

Connecticut First Night Celebrations Ring in New Year with a Bang!

Andy Hart

First Night fireworks over the Memorial Arch in Hartford.

Ring in the New Year at a First Night celebration in Hartford, Westport and Danbury. These alcohol-free community-based parties chockfull of family fun and entertainment get started early on Dec. 31 so adults and kids of all ages can enjoy the festivities.

It’ll be two celebrations for First Night Hartford, which will also be marking its 25th year of ushering in the New Year.  Downtown Harford will be alive with more than 40 events planned at 20 venues around the city from 2 p.m. to midnight. Entertainment includes music by Nzinga’s Daughters, the Balkin Brothers, Cowboy Billy, classical pianist Daniel Maltz, Bill Walach and hip-hop artist B-Boy Dancing featuring Tang Sauce. The Hartford Public Library, City Hall, The Old State House, State House Square, Wadsworth Atheneum, Center Church, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Connecticut Science center and The Bushnell Carousel will be all be open, and two spectacular fireworks displays will explode over Bushnell Park at 6 p.m. and midnight. Wristbands may be purchased in advance. Admission $12; youth 3 to15 $3, children 2 and under free. A First Night Hartford 2014 Commemorative Button will be included with each wristband sold. For a list of events, venues and ticket sale locations, visit firstnighthartford.org.

First Night Westport has taken place for the past 20 years at venues in downtown Westport. Park and walk or take a horse-drawn carriage ride, which will be available all night. The celebration will include music by jazz artist Chris Coogan, singer Leslie Orofino, Good News Gospel Choir, the RPMs, Washboard Slim and the Bluelights and more. Kids will enjoy music by Bari Koral and ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner brings his wacky sidekicks to perform “Puppet Power” There’ll also be dancing, Broadway tunes, theater performances, magic shows, a caricaturist and arts and crafts. Events begin at 4 p.m. and end by 10 p.m. with a fireworks display on the Jesup green. First Night buttons act as your tickets to each event. Buttons cost $15 and may be purchased at local businesses or online at firstnightww.com.

“Young at Heart” is the theme of First Night Danbury, which is celebrating its 24th year. More than 30 performances and activities will run from 4 to 8 p.m. throughout CityCenter Danbury on Main Street. Buttons will provide entrance to events and may be purchased for $10. Other venues also taking part will include the Palace Theater, the Danbury Green and the library plaza. Ventriloquist Kenny Warren and his “smarty pants” sidekick Leroy Cool will star in the annual vaudeville show at the Palace Theater, which will also feature local improv group A Work in Progress and stuntman Lucky Bob. Other events will include music by teen rock band Marmalade Sky, two DJ’s, Dave Wonsey’s Drum Circle, the Easton Banjo Society, the New Hope Mass Choir, and 8-year-old aspiring engineer Leo Luning. There’ll be arts and crafts, storytellers, giant puppets and special workshops with the Danbury Whalers hockey team. Food trucks will be on hand with a wide variety of culinary delights. The annual 5 K run down Main Street, “Run Into the New Year,” will take place this year on Dec. 28. For more information, visit firstnightdanbury.org.

Happy New Year from all of us at Connecticut Magazine!

Connecticut First Night Celebrations Ring in New Year with a Bang!

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