Let’s fly into the New Year with First Night®, from coast to coast.

This family-friendly event hosted on New Year’s Eve by the Springfield Area Arts Council, can be enjoyed alone or with friends and family.  Bringing you music, art, dance, poetry, and fun activities for children, this year’s celebration of the arts will feature talented performers not only from the Springfield area but also from Monterey, California, and St. Petersburg, Florida.  What better way to see 2020 out than with four hours of high quality entertainment from three time zones?

“As the Arts Council approaches its 45th anniversary in 2021, we’re giving First Night Springfield to our community at no charge,” says Sheila Walk, Executive Director.  “To keep artists and audiences safe, several of our programs were COVID-cancelled this year, but we’re keeping this holiday tradition alive.  Our 34th annual festival of the arts will be ‘virtual’ on Thursday, December 31st, and will be available on Facebook , YouTube, and Vimeo.  You can find the links on our website at www.springfieldartsco.org.  We hope many people join us for all or part of the evening from the comfort of their homes.”

Walk adds, “First Night Springfield is not only the Arts Council’s signature event, but also it is our biggest annual fund-raiser.  Our event sponsors help us pay area performers.  We’ll collect donations securely throughout the four-hour show to make some money.”

First Night Springfield will begin at 8:00 P.M., and a fireworks show from St. Petersburg will bring the countdown to midnight.  This virtual production is being created by Brian Crowdson; the evening’s hostess is favorite local actress, Aasne Vigesaa.  Felicia Olin and Karen Nickerson created the promotional material.

From Lamar Walls, one of the organizers of the event:  “The visual arts will be represented at this year’s First Night celebration.  The Springfield Area Arts Council will give away art kits in partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement and will hold a children’s art contest via our social media platforms using #kidsartsaac for a chance to win art-themed prizes.”

Where:  in front of the Hoogland Center for the Arts at 420 South Sixth Street, Springfield

When:  Saturday, December 26, from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

The visual arts also will be part of the New Year’s Eve program:

Making a celebration hat and a popper – from Monterey, California

Rock painting – from St. Petersburg, Florida

LOCAL PERFORMERS:

Enjoy original blues music from the legendary James Armstrong and country blues from Jake Shane along with country music from Britney Long and cowboy music from Randy Erwin.  There will be musical theater selections from Legacy Theater and ballet from Springfield Dance.  The Craig Russo Project and The House Trio will perform Latin jazz.  Poetry will be presented by Sydney McCabe, Delon James, and Derick Turner.

FROM MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA:

Shinsho Mugen – taiko drummers

MC Lars and Spector Dance – rap

Dirty Cello – bluegrass

Heartstrings – Celtic

Monterey Next Generation – children’s jazz orchestra

FROM ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA:

Underground Cirque – fire dancers

Gio’s Typos – holiday poetry

Cal Morris – classical

BoHo Sideshow – roots