Ring in 2012 at First Night Hazleton!

By Tom Graham

The schedule is set, the noisemakers are ready and people are putting the final touches on one of the area’s most beloved yearly celebrations — First Night Hazleton.
The City of Hazleton is preparing to welcome the arrival of 2012 with its 11th Annual First Night this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. throughout the buildings and streets. First Night Hazleton is a community celebration of the New Year through the arts and entertainment. It’s an alcohol-free, public celebration that marks the passage from the old year to the new with ritual and festivity. The objective of First Night is to recapture the symbolic significance of the passage from the old year to the new; to unite the community through a shared cultural celebration; and to deepen and broaden the publics’ appreciation of the visual and performing arts.
“We are excited to welcome back some fantastic acts from previous years,” stated Lena Kotansky, First Night Hazleton coordinator. “Regional favorites Twelve Twenty-four will be performing music by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Local musical act There and Back Again will be playing a wide variety of music. We are also welcoming back the Chinese Acrobats, as well as Rainbow the Clown who is so popular with the kids and always has the biggest line of people. It’s really a lot of fun.”
Other featured acts are a local high school area band Rail, the improv group The Oxymorons, the Celtic quartet Irish blessing and the popular doo-wop act The Clusters.
This year, active duty and retired members of the military will receive free buttons, which will grant them admittance to all First Night Hazleton 2012 activities. “We wanted to reach out to say thank you to the members of our local military. Military personal will be able to receive free button for First Night anytime simply by going to City Hall and speaking with me,” said Kotansky.
First Night revives the ancient traditions of marking the passage of time in a present day context. It was invented by a group of civic-minded artists in Boston as a meaningful alternative to traditional New Year’s Eve revelry. Offered to the city as a finale to its Bicentennial events in 1976, it was also the beginning of a new tradition that brought the neighboring communities together through a joint celebration. For more information, visit www.firstnighthazleton.com.

Button Up!

Purchasing a button guarantees entrance into all First Night activities and can be purchased in advance at www.firstnighthazleton.com. Advance button prices are $8 for adults, $4 for children (ages 8-14) and senior citizens (age 65 and above). Day of event button prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children (ages 8-14) and senior citizens (age 65 & above). Children age 7 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a button-wearing adult.
Students in grades 3-6 in the Hazleton Area & Weatherly School District will receive a free wrist band (one per student) allowing them free admission when accompanied by a paid button-wearing adult.
To purchase a button in advance, contact First Night Hazleton or visit one of these locations: The Laurel Mall Service Desk, Hazleton City Hall (first floor), Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA of Greater Hazleton, Church St.

New Year’s Eve Forecast
The weather forecast for First Night Hazleton is looking fantastic. According to weather.com, there will be scattered snow showers throughout the day with highs in the upper 30s later giving way to a clear sky perfect for fireworks with lows in the high 20s.
Bundle up and make First Night Hazleton a night to remember!

First Night Hazleton
Venues and Schedule

J.J. Ferrara Performing Arts Center
PA Theater of the Performing Arts
Broadway performances, featuring songs and skits.
Times: 5:45-6:30 p.m.; 8-8:45; 10:45-11:30

Twelve Twenty-Four
This group brings their high energy holiday rock orchestra concert to the area, featuring music from their album Miracle on Rock Street, along with the music of the Trans Siberian Orchestra.
Times: 6:45 – 7:45 p.m.;
9:15 – 10:15

Trinity Lutheran Church
Rainbow The Clown
Have your face painted and watch as Rainbow turns balloons into hats, animals, and more.
Time: 5:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Trinity Lutheran Church (downstairs)
Irish Blessing
Based in York, Pa., The Srour family will be performing traditional Irish music & dance.
Times: 5:45 – 6:30 p.m.; 7:45 – 8:30; 9:45 – 10:30

The Clusters
The group, founded in 1957, will be performing classics spanning genres of Italo-Doo-Wop along with a cappella music.
Times: 6:45 – 7:30 p.m.; 8:45 – 9:30; 10:45 – 11:30

Trinity Lutheran Church (Sunday School Room)
Chris Ruggiero
Whether he’s juggling knives and fire on a unicycle or appearing to read the minds of audience members, this one-man variety show is fun for the whole family.
Times: 5:30 – 6:15 p.m.; 7:30 – 8:15; 9:30 – 10:15

The Brain Show
Be the next game show champion of First Night. Audience members can become players in this game show by answering general knowledge trivia questions and competing for prizes. Age categories: 10 and under, 10 – 16, and 16 and above.
Times: 6:30 – 7:15 p.m.; 8:30 – 9:15; 10:30 – 11:15

City Hall (auditorium)
This game gives people of all ages a chance to play a life-size version of the favorite children’s game. Players receive free candy.
Time: 5:30 – 11:30 p.m.

City Hall (council chambers)
Local Artists’ Art Walk
Take a walk through local artists’ display of paintings, sculptures and other forms of art.
Time: 5:30 – 11:30 p.m.

Christ Lutheran Church (Green St. door)
This band will be playing a wide variety of music from classic to modern day rock.
Times: 5:45 – 6:30 p.m.; 7:45 – 8:30; 9:45 – 10:30
The Oxymorons
This improv comedy troupe perform hysterical “Improv Games,” familiar to those who enjoy “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”
Times: 6:45 – 7:30 p.m.; 8:45 – 9:30; 10:45 -11:30

Christ Lutheran Church (Spruce St. door)
Lassue’s Wild West Show
Experience Lassue’s trick and fancy roping, the dare and flair of target whips and knife juggling. Join in with crowd participation and learn to tie certain loops.
Times: 5:30 – 6:15 p.m.; 7:30 – 8:15; 9:30 – 10:15

Crazy Rhythm, Fancy Feet
This variety show celebrates America’s diverse music and dance heritage. The dance routines are fun theatrical interpretations of many dances that originated in America. This show is in the spirit of the cornerstone of early 20th century entertainment in America, Vaudeville.
Times: 6:30 – 7:15 p.m.; 8:30 – 9:15; 10:30 – 11:15

First Presbyterian Church
Magician Bill Dickson
Bill is one of Northeastern PA’s finest magicians for family entertainment.
Times: 5:30 – 6:15 p.m.; 7:30 – 8:15; 9:30 – 10:15

There and Back Again
Performing an eclectic mix of music including Classic Rock, 80s Hits, 70s Disco, Country, Modern Rock, and everything in between.
Times: 6:30 – 7:15 p.m.; 8:30 – 9:15; 10:30 – 11:15

Country Kids Jamboree
Featuring 15 distinct singing and dancing marionette puppets from Puppen Meister Productions.
Times: 5:30 – 6:15 p.m.; 7:30 – 8:15; 9:30 – 10:15

The Fabulous Chinese Acrobats
Performances feature outstanding balancing, martial arts, Chinese poles, foot juggling, and chair balance.
Times: 6:30 – 7:15 p.m.; 8:30 – 9:15; 10:30 – 11:15

Other Events on Broad St.
Horse-drawn carriage rides
Take a ride down Broad St.
Time: 7 – 10 p.m.

Grand procession
Starting at Broad and Church streets and proceeding east on Broad St., all participants are invited to walk together in a gala grand procession. Streamers and noisemakers will be provided.
Time: 11:40 – 11:50 p.m.

Fireworks at midnight!
Watch the display launched from the top deck of Hazleton’s parking garage.

Happy New Year!

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