First Night a citywide party

Performers, music to ring in new year in Annapolis

December 30, 2005|By JAMIE STIEHM | JAMIE STIEHM,SUN REPORTER

If it's New Year's Eve, it must be First Night Annapolis in the state capital.

Designed to draw families with children to join in arts-based revelry, the 16th annual First Night Annapolis will be a citywide celebration showcasing more than 200 performers and culminating in fireworks and live music at City Dock at midnight.

Last year, temperatures reached the 60s on New Year's Eve. This year, organizers are ready for any kind of weather. "The show is going to go on, whether it's 62 degrees or it's snowing," said Lisa Miles, a publicist for First Night Annapolis Inc., the nonprofit group that runs the event.

This year's theme, Miles said, is "Light Up Annapolis!" Between 20,000 and 25,000 people from around the region are expected to attend, she said.

The city's historic district will be lighted up and ready to receive them, with City Hall, St. John's College, schools, churches, courthouses and a hotel listed as venues for activities and performances.

The 50 sites for performances, which range from a gospel choir to salsa dancing, are within walking distance of each other.

Mayor Ellen O. Moyer said broad community support makes First Night a "touchstone occasion."

"We reflect on the year past, anticipate a brighter future and reconnect with family and friends on this one magical night," Moyer said.

For families with children ages 10 and younger, an assortment of activities called First Act for Children will take place at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

New this year is the Community Processional, from Maryland Hall to Church Circle, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Designed to connect younger attendees with the rest of the festivities, the walk is open to all who wish to join.

The procession will not involve vehicles, Miles said. "There will be balloons, streamers, bands, choirs and giant puppets for anybody who wants to celebrate," she added.

The First Night extravaganza is funded by state grants and private sponsors. With New Year's Eve falling on a weekend, a good turnout is expected. "It's to our benefit it's on a Saturday," Miles said. "People won't have to worry about work the day after."

Admission buttons are on sale online, at the Annapolis Visitors Center, and at 16 Giant Food stores in the area. They are $15 for adults, $10 for children, and free for those 5 and younger. Tomorrow, the price for adults rises to $20.

Closing out the night will be the band Junkyard Saints, which will perform on the waterfront before and after the midnight fireworks. The band also headlined the event last year.

Along with professional performers, community art will be on display. Winners of an art competition in the Anne Arundel County Public Schools will show their work, Miles said.

For teenagers, rock bands will perform in a "Rock at the Rec" jam at the city's recreation center on St. Mary Street.

For those who enjoy seeing American history re-enacted, at least two presidents will be portrayed in costume: Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. Twins who claim to be psychics also will put on a show. Other entertainment includes comedy, jazz and dance.

Parking in the historic district is not recommended. Event organizers say the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Rowe Boulevard is the best bet for parking. The cost is $10, which includes free shuttle service between the stadium and the historic district until 12:45 a.m., Miles said.

jamie.stiehm@baltsun.com

For First Night information and to buy admission buttons, visit the event's Web site at firstnightannapolis.org.

16th first night

The 16th annual First Night Annapolis, a New Year's Eve celebration, features hundreds of performances of music, theater, dance and magic.

Where:

50 sites throughout Annapolis' historic district

When:

Events begin at 2 p.m. and conclude with a fireworks display at midnight at City Dock.

Admission:

Souvenir buttons provide entrance to all events. They are available at 16 Giant Food stores in Anne Arundel County, Bowie and Columbia, and at the Annapolis Visitors Center; online at firstnightannapolis.org; or by calling the Old Mutual First Nightline at 410-268-8553.

Prices:

Adults, 13 and older: $15 ($20 tomorrow); children 6-12: $10; children 5 and younger, free.

Parking:

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium; cost: $10. Free shuttle runs continuously between the stadium parking lot and downtown.

First night venues

Events for First Night Annapolis will take place throughout the city:

Loews Annapolis Power House, 128 West St.

Stanton Center, 92 W. Washington St.

Arundel Center, Calvert at NW Street, Room 130

Accousticopia, 55 West St.

49 West, 49 West St.

Anne Arundel County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 26 West St.

Banneker-Douglass Museum, 84 Franklin St.

Circuit Courthouse, Church Circle

Bank of America, 10 Church Circle

Masonic Temple, 162 Conduit St.

First Presbyterian Church, Duke of Gloucester and Conduit streets

City Hall Council Chambers, 160 Duke of Gloucester St.

St. Mary's Church, 109 Duke of Gloucester St.

Recreation Center, 9 St. Mary's St.

Annapolis Elementary School, 180 Green St.

Summer Garden Theater, 143 Compromise St.

City Dock

MSTA, 140 Main St.

Long & Foster Realtors, 2 St. Francis St.

Colonial Players Theatre, 108 East St.

St. John's College

Naval Academy Alumni House

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St.

Bates Middle School, 701 Chase St.

A full listing of events and a location map are available at firstnightannapolis.org

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