Monday, December 31, 2007

First Night Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg has been holding a First Night celebration since 1994. The city closes off Caroline Street, and offers a variety of performances in downtown spaces that are designed to be family friendly. The evening starts at 6:30 with kid-friendly music, activities, puppet shows and magic acts. Throughout the evening, there are big bands and jazz bands, rock, folk, bluegrass, and even some classical music, plus comics and clowns and food and dancing in over a dozen venues. It really is a great place for families to go to enjoy the evening together, and we used to go when our kids were young. I never liked getting babysitters on New Year's Eve (as if I could even if I wanted to), and always preferred having the family together at the stroke of midnight. So if you are in the position of looking for a place to go that would appeal to both kids and adults, I highly recommend First Night. Check out all the info here.

This year, it looks like they have replaced the traditional dropping of the pear on Caroline Street with some sort of “Midnight Celebration” that might include lanterns or pineapples, or some combination. I suspect the city was looking for a pear alternative when they became embroiled in an acrimonious controversy about artistic copyright with Ken Crampton, the originator of the first Fredericksburg pear. Now it looks like we will be represented by the pineapple, the traditional colonial symbol of hospitality. The dropping of Ken’s homegrown pear was a highlight of the celebration for us. After years of seeing the televised ball-drop at Times Square, it was such a treat to get almost within touching distance of the pear at midnight (unfortunately, the demise of Ken’s pear occurred when some kids actually did get within touching, and squashing, distance). I don’t know what tonight’s celebration will be like, and I won’t be attending, so I guess I’ll have to read about it in the paper. Once our kids were old enough to want to spend New Year’s Eve with their own friends, we only attended First Night when we didn’t have a better offer. Tonight we’ll be ringing in the New Year at a big house party with a group of good friends. But if you end up downtown for the “Midnight Celebration” (and I highly recommend it, unless you’re at the party with me), I want to hear all the details.

And now, if you need something to do while waiting for the New Year, and you love gaudy Christmas displays as much as I do, you've got to check out this website. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was very sad to see whatever that neon thing was hanging from the bucket truck. My wife had to look it up on the internet at home, it was hardly recognizable. The dropping of the pear in the middle of Caroline Street in front of the old Eyeclopes studio was our favorite Fredericksburg tradition. Between that disappointment and the freezing wind we were inclined to be home by 10:30.