The old year will get a grand send-off Saturday, Dec. 31, when the City of Fullerton presents its 21st annual “First Night Fullerton,” a New Year’s Eve celebration featuring live entertainment, children’s activities and a fireworks finale. Admission is free.
The festivities will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight, and will feature dozens of events staged at numerous sites in the streets, sidewalks and buildings of historic downtown Fullerton.
The “First Night” program began in Boston in 1976, as a cap to the nation’s bicentennial. The event’s goal is to broaden public appreciation of the visual and performing arts while offering an alternative to the traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations which focus on alcohol and drinking.
There are now several hundred “First Night” cities throughout the United States and Canada. Fullerton was the first California city to offer the event, and is the only Orange County community to present a “First Night” celebration this year.
Events will include a variety of band performances, entertainers, art exhibits, and children’s rides and activities.
Bands lined up for the evening include the always popular “Soundbytes,” “The 44s with Kid Ramos,” “Help! A Beatles Tribute Band,” and “Spare Change.”
Other performers will include “The Taiko Project,” which is an ensemble of musicians skilled in the use of Japanese taiko drums, and roaming street entertainers, including Chaz the Unicyclist and a strolling magician.
Party-goers will be able to ice skate on a unique synthetic surface that resembles the real thing.
Children’s activities will include rides, carnival games, face painting, bounce houses, slides, “Robo Surf,” a Velcro wall, and a bungee run.
A 10-minute fireworks finale will cap the celebration at midnight.
While admission to all the “First Night” activities is free, a fee of $2 to $7 will be charged for the children’s rides and activities.
A variety of food booths will be selling items throughout the evening, and most downtown restaurants will be open and are within walking distance of the “First Night” festivities. Reservations are advised if you plan on having dinner at one of the restaurants.
“First Night Fullerton” is produced by the Fullerton Parks and Recreation Department. Further information may be obtained by calling the Fullerton Museum Center at (714) 738-6545.