2017 First Night Springfield

This year’s First Night® Springfield is the city’s 30th Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration of the Arts, presented by the Springfield Area Arts Council on December 31, 2016.

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.

This year’s event theme is “Our Thirtieth Celebration.”

Thus far, major sponsors of First Night include: Horace Mann; AIG; Lowe’s; Bank of Springfield; Memorial Medical Center; City of Springfield; Illinois Arts Council Agency; and the Hoogland Center for the Arts.

On New Year’s Eve—Thursday, December 31—we begin First Night’s events with FREE children’s hands-on activities and entertainment from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Springfield High School in the newly-designated craft center sponsored by Lowe’s.  Performers at the school are selected to appeal to young audiences, and we’ll have hands-on arts activities ranging from face painting to clay sculpture to harmonica lessons.  You may either download or print a schedule (below) in PDF.  Performer information and photos appear there via a link.

From 6:00 to 11:15 PM, Downtown becomes a stage, with over 40 performances taking place on ten stages in downtown Springfield. The early First Night performances, from 6:00 to 7:45 PM, include magicians, jugglers, and dancers, along with jazz and classical guitar.  Locations 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.

The traditional First Night fireworks display begins at 8:00 PM at Fourth Street and Capitol Avenue. Sponsored by Horace Mann, the fireworks are designed by Nostalgia Pyrotechnics under the direction of Carl Steinmacher. Following the fireworks will be the next round of First Night performances starting at 8:30 PM. We wrap up the show at 11:15, so you’ll have time to get to your favorite spot to ring in the new year.

First Night admission wristbands will be available in late December, and for adults, they’re $18 in advance ($5 for children ages 5 through 12), and $20 the night of the event.  Advanced sales end at 5:00 p.m. on December 30.  Wristband purchase locations will be announced in time; however, you will be able to buy them in-person at the Hoogland Center for the Arts Box Office; and online at www.hcfta.org.


FN 2017 Photos of First Night Performers – coming soon

FN 2017 Performer Information – coming soon

First Night 5K

The Springfield Area Arts Council Board will not be hosting a First Night 5K this year.