First Night Danbury 2013-2014, presented by Family & Children's Aid and CityCenter Danbury, will salute the “Young at Heart.” Enjoying its 24th year as CityCenter downtown's family friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, First Night takes place on New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, December 31st, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm in Danbury downtown venues, all within easy walking distance. The highly anticipated event, often shared by three or four generations of family and friends who've been attending since 1989 from throughout the Housatonic Valley and beyond, annually provides everyone a chance to close out a year and begin anew, with community enthusiasm and lots of surprises. For a sneak peek, visit www.firstnightdanbury.org
A newcomer to the First Night Danbury team, Family & Children's Aid has committed 5 years of support to First Night, which will mark a milestone next year with its 25th Silver Anniversary.
Nick Hoffman, Director of Development at Family and Children’s Aid, remarks:
"With roots dating back to 1809, Family & Children's Aid was founded with a simple mission in mind: 'For every child, a home.' Now providing extensive and comprehensive mental health services for children, we are proud of our history, our accomplishments, and our on going commitment to the 'child in all of us,' allowing us all to feel nurtured and safe. Therefore, it is only fitting, that Family & Children's Aid has made a 5-year commitment to support First Night Danbury. A pillar of our therapeutic philosophy is social connection. This pledge is reciprocal through the exposure of our clientele to arts and community events, creating an opportunity for growth and healing."
Other sponsors include:
Danbury Cultural Commission,
The City of Danbury,
Non-Profit Rental Housing,
Olde Crabs Hockey Club,
Union Savings Bank,
Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce,
Military Housing Adjustments (MHA),
Urgent Care of Connecticut,
Friends of Danbury Library,
Kramer & Anderson,
Savings Bank of Danbury,
Danbury Museum & Historical Society,
Association of Religious Communities (ARC),
Newtown Savings Bank, and the
Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut.
First Night will offer more than 30 entertainments and activities over its youthful and high-spirited 4 hours. A Vaudeville at the Palace Danbury traditionally anchors the evening, this year starring ventriloquist Kenny Warren & his "smarty pants" sidekick Leroy Cool. Seen on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," this extraordinary vocal illusionist has been one of the best known opening acts for many of America's leading headline performers, including Jerry Seinfeld, Rosie O'Donnell, Richard Pryor, Robert Klein and Rodney Dangerfield. Of course, Leroy Cool is no slouch either. He's always by Kenny's side. They will be joined on the stage of Danbury’s 1928 vaudeville house by Connecticut's newest improv group, A Work in Progress, and the jaw-dropping stunts of LuckyBob. Music, Variety, Children’s Activities, Arts & Crafts, Novelties & Exhibitions are planned for every age group, every interest, and every entertainment. There’s Magic, Giant Puppets, Storytelling, Ice Sculpting, special workshops with the Danbury Whalers hockey team, and much more.
Other artists, activities and participants include: Teen rock band Marmalade Sky, two DJ's, Dave Wonsey's Drum Circle, the Easton Banjo Society, the New Hope Mass Choir, and 8-year-old aspiring engineer Leo Luning. Food Truck fare on Liberty Street will keep First Night revelers merry and warm! And don’t forget to join everyone for the “Young at Heart” FINALE at 7:30pm on Library Plaza with carols and line dancing led by DJ Jim Fairchild, Linda Peck Juggling, Mortal Beasts & Deities Stilts & Large Puppets, Ice Matters’ Sculptures, and Hot Cider & Cookies courtesy of Danbury Parking Authority.
First Night buttons, perfect gifts for family, friends, neighbors, business colleagues and stocking stuffing, cost $10 – the price of a movie ticket! – or $8 (a discount of $2 each) if you purchase 20 or more. They are currently available Monday through Friday 10:00am to 5pm – and on Saturday, December 21st and Saturday, December 28th from noon to 3:00pm – at the CityCenter offices, 187 Main Street. Buttons in bulk (20 or more) can also be purchased through special arrangement outside of regular business hours. Look for buttons on sale at local outlets, including
Union Savings Bank locations in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield and New Fairfield; Savings Bank of Danbury locations in Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown, New Fairfield, and New Milford; Patriot Parking Garage, Danbury; Danbury Library; Danbury Museum & Historical Society; Appearances Hair Salon, New Milford; and The Sweet Spot, New Milford.
You can also purchase First Night buttons through PayPal by visiting www.citycenterdanbury.com For information, call (203) 792 1711.
First Night Venues & Performers
Artist bios and other program information are listed under the host site chronologically so that when you visit, you may check out what’s happening there all in one place.
DANBURY ARENA 1Independence Way
Kids’ Crafts with Kerri LuBell (NY)
4:00 - 7:00pm
Go creative! Kerri’s clever arts and crafts creations have always insured that a child of any age goes home with playful memories... and a keepsake souvenir.
Danbury Whalers Workshops (CT)
4:30 - 5:15pm & 6:00 - 6:45pm
Danbury’s own Federal Hockey League Champion Danbury Whalers, based at the Danbury Ice Arena, invite you into their home-on-ice for a whirlwind introduction to what they do best - Skate! Their name comes from the Hartford Whalers who were a professional ice hockey team based in Connecticut and played in Hartford from 1975-1997 before relocating to North Carolina.
Public Skate (discount with button)
5:00 - 7:00pm
Admission is only $3 for everyone with a First Night button. If you don’t have your own skates, you can rent a pair for $4. Get on the ice tonight!
DANBURY LIBRARY 170 Main Street
4:00 - 5:15pm on the Main Level
A family-friendly music and comedy show that will have you laughing, clapping and singing along to the music of The Beatles, Four Seasons, Neil Diamond and lots of other classics. You’ll also hear hilarious parodies of some of your favorite songs. The band you won’t forget.
Marty the Magician with Lee Winters (NY)
4:00 - 7:00pm in the Farioly Room
Marty joins First Night Danbury with a decade with us under his top hat. A popular fixture on New Year’s Eve, his prestidigitation entertains children of all ages with a personal flair! He is past president of the Danbury Top Hatters Society of American Magicians. Kid Magician Lee Winters is a 2nd Place Winner at The Tannen's Magic Camp.
Ice Matters (CT)
4:00 - 8:00pm on Library Plaza
A First Night staple, this award wnning ice carving company always captures First Night’s theme with artistry and good humor. A National Ice Carving Champion, owner Bill Covitz began his career as a graduating chef from the Culinary Institute of America. He now spends some of his time creating ice instruments on the mountaintops of Norway.
The Storycrafters (NY)
5:45 - 6:30pm & 6:45 - 7:30pm on the Main Level
Jeri Burns and Barry Marshall have been working together as The Storycrafters since 1991. Their natural, energetic style has been featured in major festivals, schools and libraries in the US, Europe, and the West Indies. With awards from Parents Choice, The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio and Storytelling World, they specialize in original retellings and modern renditions of world folklore - crafted with pizzazz!
DJ Jim Fairchild (CT)
6:00 - 8:00pm on Library Plaza
Jim has been packing dance floors for nearly 30 years for a laundry list of Who's Who. His clients have included Adam Yauch of The Beastie Boys, Sally Jesse Raphael & Michael Bolton, plus many others in the public's eye. Jim is one of the top DJ Entertainers in our region.
Mortal Beasts & Deities (CT)
6:00 - 8:00pm wandering Main Street beginning at Library Plaza. Parade with them back to Library Plaza for the closing gathering at 7:30pm
Mortal Beasts & Deities, led by Mark Alexander of northwestern Connecticut,
has been creating Controlled Mayhem and Earnest Frivolity with their Larger Than Life Puppets and Splendiferous Stilt Dancers around the United States and Internationally since 1996. Look for a Flock of Doves!
Linda Peck (MA)
6:30 - 8:00pm on Library Plaza
Linda Peck will light up the night for First Night Danbury as Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Her moving muse “has audiences spellbound” as she spins an orb on a parasol, all the while standing on a golden globe There may even be a meteor shower of light as Linda swings and juggles fire.
“Young at Heart” Finale
7:30 - 8:15pm on Library Plaza
Featuring DJ Jim Fairchild, Linda Peck, Mortal Beasts & Deities, Ice Matters, and Hot Cider and Cookies courtesy of the Danbury Parking Authority.
DANBURY MUSIC CENTRE 256 Main Street
Dave Wonsey (CT)
4:00 - 5:00pm
Dave has facilitated Synergy Drum Circles since 1996. Dave became a World Champion drummer at the age of 16. In a career that has him to Carnegie Hall at the Cathefral of St. John the Divine, he covers a variety of styles including Jazz & Rock, Orchestral Percussion & World Percussion... even Snare Drum for Bagpipe Bands. His communal Drum Circles always are an uplifting jam. Just show up and play, hard and loud.
Masque Theatre (CT)
5:30 - 6:15pm & 6:45 - 7:30pm
Masque Theatre’s Larry Hunt is an actor, director, mask maker, and educator. He has performed throughout most of the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Australia, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Bulgaria, Serbia, Czech Republic and more. Since 1980, Larry has produced and performed his own original theater works that combine historical mask traditions with innovative approaches to body movement and improvisation.
PALACE DANBURY 165 Main Street
Easton Banjo Society (CT)
4:00 - 4:30 pm, 5:00 - 5:30pm & 6:00 - 6:30pm in the Lobby
Entertaining audiences of all ages for over half a century since founded in Easton, CT in 1957, the group serves up an unique American sound, drawn mainly from the mid-1800's to the easily 1930's, with banjos, sousaphone, drums, and washboard.
Kenny Wilson & Leroy Cool (NY)
Vaudevilles: 4:30 - 5:15pm; 5:30 - 6:15pm; 6:30 - 7:15pm
Seen on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," vocal illusionist extraordinaire Kenny Warren has been one of the best known opening acts for many of America's leading headline performers, including Jerry Seinfeld, Rosie O'Donnell, Richard Pryor, Robert Klein and Rodney Dangerfield. Of course, Leroy Cool is no slouch either. He's always by Kenny's side. The team's comic antics will headline the Palace Danbury vaudeville with A Work in Progress and LuckyBob.
A Work in Progress (CT)
Vaudevilles: 4:30 - 5:15pm; 5:30 - 6:15pm; 6:30 - 7:15p
Connecticut’s newest improv group serving Fairfield County and based out of A Common Ground right here in the heart of downtown Danbury. Members include founder James Diamond, improv veterans Andree Lambertson and Christopher Dube, and newcomer and rising star Ryan Cummins. Together they have over 40 years of combined improv experience.
Vaudevilles: 4:30 - 5:15pm; 5:30 - 6:15pm; 6:30 - 7-15pm
LuckyBob is perfect blend of magic, juggling and comedy. From beginning to end, LuckyBob's superb skill and affable personality will entertain, mystify and keep you wanting more. High-Energy, Jaw-Dropping Stunts and the wit of a seasoned comedian, LuckyBob proves he can do anything with his uncanny juggling skills.
ST. JAMES’ CHURCH 25 West Street
Linda Parker (CT)
4:00 - 4:45pm
Ms. Parker has sung at St. James Church for many years, performs with the Danbury Chorus, St. John’s Chorale in Washington CT, and at New Milford Fair Days. Her repertoire includes classical and sacred works as as pieces from the legenday Broadway songbook. A 2012 First Place winner of the National Association of Teachers of Singing award, Linda is currently a member of the Waterbury Chorale.
New Hope Mass Choir (CT)
5:15 - 6:00pm
The New Hope Baptist Church Mass Choir (Reverend LeRoy G. Parker) was formed in 2003. With their mission to spread the “good news,” The choir has had a long history of serving the Greater Danbury community and many other cities inside and outside of New Hope's entire music ministry is comprised of the mass choir, the male chorus, the Praise Team, the Youth Choir and the Sounds of Joy children's choir. The choirs are under the musical direction of Minister of Music Brother Jonathan Hill and choir director Sister Corean Strong.
Mad Hatters Barbershop Chorus (CT)
6:30 - 7:15pm
A non-profit fraternal organization the Mad Hatters are affiliated with the 24,000 member Barbershop Harmony Society. Since 1966, Danbury's popular a cappella troupe has promoted in song one of the city's historic industries, singing four-part harmony in the " barbershop style," featuring a rich repertoire of love songs, movie and Broadway Show tunes, folk, doo-wop, patriotic and 19th century vaudeville melodies.
UNION SAVINGS BANK AT THE GALLERIA 225 Main Street
DJ/MC Man-u-iLL (CT)
4:00 - 7:30pm
Considered among Hip-Hop’s best, Man-u-iLL was discovered as the proprietor of iLL iNK Graphic & Printing Services on Main Street. “Music is a reflection of life, opinions, thoughts, and feelings... Words are power and my aim is to spark brain cells and move hearts.”
Portuguese Traditional Games (CT)
4:00 - 7:30pm
Always welcomed at First Night and CityCenter events throughout the season, this group demonstrates the key components of games: goals, rules, challenges, and interaction. For the past 15 years under mentor Antonio Heitor, this group of young people find that the best feeling of all is when the older crowd expresses their memories of playing the same games.
Masque Theatre Istallation (CT)
4:00 - 7:30pm
A cascade of Larry Hunt’s exquisitely handcrafted and evocative masks.
HEIRLOOM ARTS THEATRE 155 Main Street at the end of Palace Walk
Marmalade Sky (CT)
4:45 - 5:30pm, 6:00 - 6:45pm
Jason, Josh and Ben - friends for over 10 years - started jamming together at Band Camp three years ago, where they met drummer Max. The boys were later joined by Amber on vocals. Marmalade Sky has been rocking crowds throughout CT & NY, winning the Ridgefield BandJam competitions in 2012 & 2013. Audiences are wowed by the professional quality music, spot-on covers & remarkable originals. Most importantly, the band has fun!
ESCAPE TO THE ARTS 293 Main Street
5:00 – 7:00 pm
Fun new craft! Create and take home your own miniature yarn doll. Face painting will also be available.
Gallery Exhibition: For Emilie
5:00 – 7:00 pm
View exhibit of colorful paintings created by artists of all ages in honor of former ESCAPE student and Sandy Hook victim Emilie Parker.
PLAY N TRADE 147 Main Street
4:00 - 7:30pm
Video gaming (discount with button)
CULTURAL ALLIANCE OF WESTERN CT @287 287 Main Street
4:30 - 7:00pm
This Danbury-based group plays bossa nova, Latin jazz, samba from Rio and folkloric traditional songs. The group featuresTom Wolff on guitar and flute, Colin Mayo on guitar, João Nunes vocals, Fernanda Franco vocals, Keith McDade on bass, and Jake Habegger on drums. A great way to celebrate Danbury’s rich Brazilian history.
DANBURY INNOVATION CENTER 158 Main Street
4:00 - 7:30pm
The Danbury Innovation Center, newly opening, will be the home of the Danbury Hackerspace, Western Connecticut Score, and will be a co-working and event space. Guest innovator is Leo Luning, a third-grader at Hudson Country Montessori School. His favorite activities are those where he can express his creativity using things he has learned about the world. Inspired by seeing a 3-D printer at Danbury’s First Night last year, Leo not only wanted to use one, but built a 3-D printer himself!