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Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009 06:33 am

First Night 2009


Pleasure Chest

Ringing in the new year doesn’t need to be an adults-only party. Instead, welcome 2010 with a celebration of family-friendly arts, music and theater at the 23rd annual First Night.

This year’s schedule, a mix of yearly favorites and all new acts, features an eclectic – to say the least – group of performers such as the Springfield Ballet Company, Mark Gifford and his Barton Theater organ and the Springfield International Folk Dancers at the Lincoln Era Ball.

Bands and artists like The Emerald Underground, Ultraviolet and IT’s own Tom Irwin will be taking the various stages throughout the evening. At the Vachel Lindsay Home, there will be multiple performances of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s seminal feminist short story, The Yellow Wallpaper. This particular production is not suitable for children, but there are plenty of activities fit for the whole family.

Ben Bedford

In the afternoon, there will be activities for kids, followed by performances by the DePriest Puppets troupe, with selections from the Muni Opera in the evening.

And, of course, what would First Night be without its midnight fireworks display? Right up until the first week of December, it was a very-near reality. Initially, due to budget constraints, this annual show had been cancelled, but Brother James Court saved the day by donating a fireworks display they themselves had received as a donation.  The fireworks will go on as usual.

Many downtown bars and restaurants will be open after midnight, so the last firework doesn’t mean the end of the festivities.

Proceeds from First Night benefit the programs of the Springfield Area Arts Council, such as grants, social services agencies and arts resources, as well as the Arts-In-Education program.

For a complete schedule of First Night events go to


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Sunday Aug. 18th