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First Night Comes to Wolfeboro!

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - December 9, 2013

It is the biggest and splashiest New Year’s Eve party in the Lakes Region! Where else can the entire family celebrate with live music of all kinds, indulge in great food, do hands-on activities, dance, take in a festive parade, and end it all with a glorious fireworks display?

When First Night Wolfeboro takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 31, it will be the 19th year for the event which encompasses all of downtown Wolfeboro and beyond.

Says Mary DeVries, executive director of the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce, “This is a big event and we work on it all year. We always get a great turnout and this year the event is presented solely by the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce. We depend upon our great staff and a community of hard-working volunteers to bring First Night to Wolfeboro again this year.”

DeVries speaks from experience, having been an active participant in First Night Wolfeboro for some time. Her First Night committee, with chair Cecile Chase, a chamber board member, meets regularly to plan the many aspects of the event that is beloved all over the Lakes Region.

In a day and age when many of the once-popular First Nights in larger cities are no longer in operation, how does the relatively modest town of Wolfeboro continue to hold such a well-attended event?

“We depend upon great volunteers and we have the support of the Wolfeboro Area Chamber, whereas many other First Nights depended upon paid staff. We could not do this without the help and support of our First Night sponsors and businesses,” DeVries adds.

The well-thought-out event is crafted to offer family/child-friendly events in the afternoon and early evening. Children will love the parade and the fireworks that follow. After that, parents can head home to get younger children to bed. After the fireworks, music and events that will attract adult First Night attendees kick into high gear.

“We have some returning favorite activities and acts and also some new things,” says Cecile Chase. New this year is the Carolyn Ramsey Band and the Traveling Wolfeburys, both wonderful local bands.

The First Night Wolfeboro committee is particularly excited about the fireworks presentation by Hell’s Gate Fireworks of Rumney. The display will last an entire half-hour and there will not be a better way to celebrate the New Year and to say farewell to 2013!

The schedule as of press time offers the Walleye Clue Chase Competition ongoing from noon to 4 p.m. at the chamber headquarters in downtown Wolfeboro on Central Avenue.

Popular ice skating takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Pop Whalen Arena on Route 109A.

Ice sculpting with Brian Stockman begins at noon and runs until 5 p.m. at the Cate Park Community Bandstand in downtown Wolfeboro.

All Saints Church is the location for the Andrew Pinard magical show at 2 and 3 p.m. A returning favorite of First Night Wolfeboro audiences, Andrew presents a magic show filled with wonder, with an emphasis on audience participation, visual magic, and physical comedy guaranteed to amuse the whole family. Blending magic, storytelling, and comedy with a little help from volunteer assistants, Andrew Pinard draws spectators into his zany world of wonder.

Gary Sredzienski offers shows at 6 and 7 p.m. at All Saints Church. Gary shares music, history, and a dash of comedy. During Gary’s show, he plays the accordion and explains how each of the many different accordions works.

It is a known fact that children adore animals and they will get an up-close look at furry friends during Wildlife Encounters at the Pinckney Boathouse at 2, 3, and 4 p.m.

The Caroline Ramsey Band will play at the Pinckney Boathouse from 6 to 8 p.m. The Bel Aires perform at 9 and 10 p.m. for pre-Beatles lovers of Doo-Wop a capella music.

Families also can enjoy some fun crafts at Estabrook Hall during the afternoon, and activities for teens will take place at 9 p.m.

Brewster Academy will be the location for a Kids Jazz Band concert from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by the Traveling Wolfeburys from 6 to 8 p.m. The popular Tuckermans at 9 performs at 9 and 10 p.m.

The People’s Procession Parade brings the festivities to downtown Wolfeboro at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks lighting up the New Year’s Eve sky over the bay.

The Governor Wentworth Arts Council and the Wolfeboro Chamber of Commerce began sponsoring First Night Wolfeboro in 1994. Due to other commitments, the Arts Council has stepped away from this year’s event and the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce is continuing the fun and celebrations that offer families a wonderful way to end 2013 and welcome the New Year.

In order to participate in First Night Wolfeboro activities, purchase buttons at the Chamber Information Center (call 603-569-2200). All participating venues also will be selling buttons the night of the event. Buttons are offered at a discount price until Dec. 30, but also will be available on the day of the event.  Whether purchasing a button ahead of time or on the day of the event, participants must wear the button in order to gain entry into the shows and workshops.

Children 10 years and under are admitted free when accompanied by a button-wearing adult. 

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