2018 First Night Springfield
This year’s First Night® Springfield is the city’s 31st annual New Year’s Eve Celebration of the arts, presented by the Springfield Area Arts Council on December 31, 2017.
First Night originated in Boston in 1976 as a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. Springfield’s First Night was the first in Illinois and remains the longest running.
The event theme has not yet been announced. Please check back for details and a schedule. Major sponsors of First Night 2017 (12/31/2016) included: Horace Mann; AIG; Bunn-O-Matic Corporation; Lowe’s; Bank of Springfield; NPR Illinois 91.9 U I S; Black Sheep Cafe; Memorial Health System; the City of Springfield; the Illinois Arts Council Agency; and the Hoogland Center for the Arts.
Look forward, we will again plan to open the event on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve—Sunday, December 31—with FREE children’s hands-on creative activities and entertainment in three areas from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Springfield High School. We hope to have hands-on activities, including table crafts, clay sculpture, wood craft kits, and face painting as well as a puppet show and harmonica lessons. You’ll also find three stage shows in the school auditorium. You may either download or print a schedule (below) from 2016 in PDF. Performer photos appear there via a link.
From 6:00 to 11:15 PM, we anticipate that Downtown will become a stage, with over 40 performances taking place on eleven stages at seven venues in Springfield. The early First Night performances, from 6:00 to 7:45 PM, will include magicians, jugglers, and dancers, along with organ, piano, jazz, and solo artists. We anticipate that locations will include the Hoogland Center for the Arts, Lincoln Library (Springfield’s Public Library), Grace Lutheran Church, Central Baptist Church, and the Lincoln Home Visitors’ Center.
New in 2016 was a dedicated venue for teen bands at the Black Sheep Cafe stage at Kari Bedford Photography. We hope that our initiative to integrate young musicians can continue.
The traditional First Night fireworks display will begin at 8:00 PM at Fourth Street and Capitol Avenue. Sponsored by Horace Mann for many years, the fireworks are designed by Nostalgia Pyrotechnics under the direction of Carl Steinmacher, and he promises a special display each year. Following the fireworks, we will begin the next round of First Night performances at 8:30 PM. We will wrap up the event at 11:15, so that attendees will have time to get home or to a favorite spot to ring in the New Year.
First Night admission wristbands should be available after December 15. For adults, we hope to hold the cost at $18 in advance ($20 at the door) and $5 for children ages 5 through 18. Advanced sales will end at Noon on Saturday, December 30. We anticipate that wristbands will be available in-person at the Hoogland Center for the Arts box office, online at www.hcfta.org , and in-person at four Bank of Springfield locations (Wabash, Stevenson, Chatham, and Madison). Other sites are being negotiated.
FN 2017 Performer Information – coming soon
First Night 5K
A decision has not yet been made whether the Springfield Area Arts Council Board will host a First Night 5K this year. If you’re interested in volunteering to organize a run, please contact our office.