Our 31st on the 31st!

Purchase a button for admission to all events

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Happy New Year! You're invited to attend First Night-Northampton's most beloved signature event. On Thursday, December 31st, the Center for the Arts and PeoplesBank welcome you to the 31st edition of our city-wide New Year's Eve party. Since 1985, First Night Northampton has filled the Paradise City with a 12-hour, family-friendly festival of the arts culminating in a traditional ball-raising from the roof of the Hotel Northampton. Gather with friends, neighbors and visitors at 21 terrific downtown venues for an astounding array of entertainment presented by hundreds of talented performers. Our efforts are supported by generous local sponsors and dedicated volunteers. One hundred percent of proceeds benefit community arts.

All aboard for our noon kick-off at the Academy of Music where you can hop on the First Night Circus Train, full of energetic and amazing performers from SHOW Circus Studio. Or join the adventures of a cool kitty at Paintbox Theatre's "Puss In Boots,"1 and 2 pm at Theatre 14. Don't miss this year's special double feature starring the A2Z Yo-Yo Team and Mad Science of Western New England in the 2-4 pm slot at John M. Greene Hall. Our performance program is filled with hours of excitement for kids and adults. In the afternoon, enjoy a plethora of puppetry, dance, a cappella voice, plus classical and contemporary music from solo to quintet, acoustic to electric-not to mention a full guitar orchestra. Meet Dr. Marmalade at the Forbes Library, or sing along with the Nields at their family show in First Churches Sanctuary. You can even treat yourself to the Valley Light Opera, making a third First Night appearance with two performances of "Cox and Box," a one-act comic operetta.

Fireworks at 6:15 cap the afternoon and signal the start of the evening entertainment. The City of Northampton hosts a fabulous display that lights up the sky from the roof of the central parking garage. You can see the fireworks from all over town. After that, the festivities continue with a diverse range of offerings, including an innovative line-up of bands at the Academy where Monte and Joan of 93.9 The River emcee the stage for junk-percussionist, one-man-wonder The Suitcase Junket and Parsonsfield, a five-piece Americana band with an infectious bluegrass-pop sound. Wanna dance? Take a stroll down Conz Street to try out some rockabilly stompers with L'il BeeDee & the Doo-Rites at the World War II Club. The Parlor Room celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Valley's own Lonesome Brothers followed by more hometown favorites-- psychedelic folk rockers The Sun Parade. Looking for something more laid back? Take in some Bach with archguitar master Peter Blanchette at Sweeney Concert Hall, or the revel in the hushed harmonies of Winterpills at Edwards Church.

Later, it's time to gather at the Hotel Northampton for the iconic raising of the ball. For the 31st anniversary of First Night Northampton, Johnny Memphis will be riding a soul train of hits that will have you dancing in the streets by midnight. A single bargain-priced button opens the doors to every event at every venue. Buy one early at a local vendor or online, and check out the companion performance schedule as well as the logistical tips that follow to plan for a happy new year.


Parking: On First Night, there is free parking in all of Northampton's municipal lots EXCEPT the downtown parking garage. Smith College parking lots and the Smith College garage on West Street are free and open to the general public all day. There are also lots at Forbes Library, the Northampton Senior Center, and the World War II Club.

Please remember that access to and from the E.J. Gare Parking Garage will be restricted from approximately 5:45pm to 6:45pm because of the fireworks display. The same is true for the adjacent municipal lots.

Button Sales on Thursday, December 31st: Of course, the easiest and most economical plan is to buy your First Night button in advance. Online sales continue until midnight on Wednesday, December 30th. There are no additional fees for buying buttons online. Locations for purchasing buttons on December 31st are limited. Your best bet is the First Night box office located on the second floor of Thornes Marketplace, open from 10 am until 9 pm with payment by cash or check only (ATM available). You can also purchase buttons downtown at State Street Fruit Store (credit cards accepted) and the Hotel Northampton. They are for sale (cash) at the door of these performance venues: Academy of Music; Theatre 14 at Smith College; World War II Club; Northampton Senior Center, John M. Greene Hall. They are also sold at Cooper's Corner in Florence and A.J. Hastings in Amherst.

At the venues: In order to accommodate our audiences and to make things easier for the volunteers, please cooperate by lining up at entrances in an orderly fashion and exiting the venues after each performance. This also keeps things running on time. Note: Many shows are offered twice, so if you don't make it into the first one, you'll probably catch the second.