FIRST NIGHT FESTIVITIES RETURN TO ALEXANDRIA Words by Liesel Schmidt
First Night Alexandria (FNA) has been a New Year’s Eve tradition for nearly 30 years as the season’s most anticipated event. After pivoting in 2020, Alexandria welcomes the festivities back with great excitement, kicking off 2022 in the way that only First Night can. Showcasing and supporting the performing and lively arts from midday until late night, First Night is filled with a curated list of entertainment that is both family-friendly and affordable, making it a destination event for the city of Alexandria. “For 27 years, an intergenerational cross-section of diverse families and friends have chosen Alexandria as their destination for a safe experience to create memories because of First Night,” says Marilyn Patterson, Executive Director for FNA. “There’s great anticipation in the community around the comeback of our hometown holiday tradition. We’re really excited about some fresh additions to the experience that will be revealed. With supply chain issues threatening to impact product arrivals this year, the gift of experiences becomes an even more appealing option. As you consider holiday gifts, consider the gift of live music and entertainment. First Night Alexandria has an experience that will ‘fit’ everyone on your list!” The event continues to provide entertainment that enables the public to explore new genres of music, which brings people back to celebrate year after year. “So many people are seeking opportunities for ‘clean fun,’ and that’s what we offer,” says Patterson. “The showtimes enable our guests to experience multiple shows, have a dinner and enjoy the street party countdown.” Perfect for the junior members of the community, attractions include Kids Celebrate! featuring children’s performers Culture Queen, Groovy Nate, Mike Rose Magic and juggler Parris Dineen. Sassy Seniors Celebrate NYE! is a new addition to the lineup; a variety show for seniors who love to have fun during the daylight hours. The variety show includes performances by comedian PT Bratton of the Clean Comedy Connection, the youth dance group of Local Motion Project and Lady Mary. Also new this year is Battle of the Buskers, which pits street performers in a competition to win votes. During the evening, guests will enjoy performances by Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun, the Grandsons, the Soul Divas Revue, Common Ground Band, the Irish Breakfast Band, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Yellow Door Concert Series, Local Motion Project, Janine Wilson, Ruthie & the Wranglers, School of Rock Duke Street Allstars and comedians from the Clean Comedy Connection. The Silent Disco, new to this year’s event, brings a dance party that lasts all evening long. DJ Konsistance, DJ Papito and DJ DME3 engage in an epic DJ battle for your attention. The Street Party Countdown to 2022 will start at 10pm. Fireworks end the day-long celebration at midnight. In consideration of the continuing impact of COVID-19, this year’s event will maintain a smaller footprint to ensure health and safety. Attendees are encouraged to maintain safe social distances indoors and outdoors. Masks are required at all indoor venues. New this year are individually ticketed shows and seating is limited. Regardless of size, First Night is every bit as magical as ever. “As a lifelong resident of Alexandria, I think First Night Alexandria is one of the city’s finest traditions,” says Lavern J. Chatman, President of the FNA Board of Directors. “It's a magical evening full of fun and music for the whole family, the community and visitors. There is no better way to bring in the new year than spending an evening at First Night Alexandria!” Adds Cathy Riddick-Brown, Volunteer Coordinator for FNA, “Join us for a day of fun, entertainment and excitement. Make it an experience with your co-workers, friends, family or meet someone new at one of the many lively venues in the heart of downtown Alexandria.” FNA is an independent no first-night-alexandria-new-years-celebration-large.jpeg 789 KB View full-size Downloadn-profit organization. The New Year’s Eve event is made possible through the generosity of businesses and individuals in and around the city. The event is presented by the City of Alexandria, Dominion Energy and Virginia Paving. Other sponsors include the Chatman Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia, Transurban, Burke & Herbert Bank, Jacobs, Stonebridge, Clarke & Sampson, John Marshall Bank, Kathmar Construction, Inc. and the Rotary Club of Alexandria. A portion of proceeds supports young musicians studying music through choir, band and orchestra in Alexandria middle and high schools. Donations are welcomed. Purchase your ticket(s) online at www.firstnightalexandria.org HEALTH + SAFETY In order to protect our community during the ongoing pandemic, the following pandemic precautions are in place for all FNA activities: If you do not feel well, stay at home. Tickets are fully transferable. For all indoor shows, guests are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated or to get a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of attending FNA. Masks will be required for all attendees. By purchasing a ticket to the event, you agree to comply with the mask-wearing requirement. Refunds will NOT be issued to ticket holders who refuse to comply with the policy. For outdoor experiences, FNA strongly encourages attendees to spread out, practice social distancing and wear masks when maintaining a safe social distance is not possible.