|What is First Night?
First Night is an alcohol free,
community celebration of the New Year through the arts. It is a major visual
and performing arts festival created by and for the community to welcome
the New Year. It is a public celebration that revives the ancient tradition
of marking the passage of time with art, ritual and festivity in a present
day context. In Fredericksburg First Night is an alcohol free block party
held on the streets of Historic Fredericksburg, ushering in the New Years.
The staff of SimplyFredericksburg has attended several of these First Night
celebration and we always have a good time.
Where is First Night?
First Night is celebrated
in over 200 Cities in the U.S. and Canada. Plus England and Australia.
First Night Fredericksburg is held in olde towne Fredericksburg up and
down Caroline and adjoining Streets. A complete listing of First Night
Cities can be found at the First Night International web site at http://www.firstnight.com/.
What is happening at First
The City of Fredericksburg
has a large array of events planned for this years First Night celebration.
We have attended several of the First Night Fredericksburg's. Our accounts
and photos of the events are below.
| 2001 | 2002 | 2003
The pear dropping over Caroline
Street started in 1994. Ken Crampton and his Pear have run into trouble
during the past couple of years (read
more). Personally Fredericksburg only needs one pear. It's not about
how much money was spent on it, or what it is made of, it's about tradition
and Ken's pear is now a tradition. In 2000, the City had three pears. One
on each end of Caroline Street and Ken's pear in the middle. Most of the
crowds gathered around Ken's pear out of tradition. A few around the contest
winning pear at the library and a few more around the one on the side of
the high rise Executive Plaza Office building (601 Caroline St.). The one
at the library was to remain stationary at midnight, Ken's was to drop,
and the one on the Executive Plaza Office building was to rise at midnight.
After much debate, Ken's pear was dropped, and this 2001 only one pear
was dropped (Ken's).
Ken's pear is made out of
a chicken wire frame with a ligth bulb on the inside. The wire frame is
covered with yellow mylar tape. The end result is a simple pear that the
public loves. SimplyFredericksburg would like to say thanks to Ken
Crampton for showing us the pear and telling us a little about it's past.
Also thanks for taking the time in making the pear and fighting the good
The 2000 Event
The night started off with
a parade down Caroline St. At the library were re-enactors gathered around
a fire. Across the street, hanging in the sky was the new pear designed
by Ami McClean of Spotsylvania. Ami's pear was on display because she won
the contest held by the First Night Fredericksburg Executive Director Chris
Foley. Ami was paid $250 for winning the contest. Inside the library was
the GoodTime Cloggers dancing up a storm. The Cloggers put on a high energy
upbeat show as usual. At the James Monroe High School gym were the Mapapa
Acrobats from Kenya. The show they put on was truly awesome. The only
bad thing about that show was the long wait for a bus ride back to the
main festival location. Also at the 2000 event were Kamp
Kreatures puppets, the Larry
Stephenson Band and the Hartwood Quartet to name a few. At midnight,
the pear at 810 Caroline dropped as scheduled, the lighted balloon pear
at 601 Caroline rose a few seconds later and the fire works show was spectacular.
First Night Fredericksburg
Dress appropriately. The festivities
continue rain, snow or freezing weather. Don't let the cold scare you off,
there will be plenty of warm holiday cheer to go around.
Park at the City Dock, Train
Station, Mary Washington College (lot on Williams street), the Free Lance-Star
building or one of the City parking lots, there will be shuttle service
running all night.
Purchase your button in advance.
(At any library branch). (Price is subject to change from year to year)
Bring money (though most all
the events are free, there will be plenty of stores and Restaurants open
late, never know when you may want a hot chocolate).
Bring the Holiday spirit, leave
the Grinch at home.
Tell your friends and family.
You may want to get close to
the pear well before midnight. Last year the crowd was very thick.
We'll See You There!!!