First Night North in St. Johnsbury (formerly First Night St. Johnsbury) is the largest festival of the arts in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and New Hampshire’s North Country. First Night celebrations are about creating a new community tradition. This is borne out by the number of cities who have made long-term commitments to bringing this event to their community. First Night celebrations recapture the symbolic significance of the passage from the old year to the new; to unite the community through a shared cultural celebration; to deepen and broaden the public appreciation of the visual and performing arts; to help revitalize the core of our community; and to offer a family-friendly, alcohol-free alternative to other kinds of New Year's Eve revelry.
First Night provides entertainment starting in the afternoon on New Year's Eve until the stroke of midnight when fireworks explode with color bursting high over the athletic fields of St. Johnsbury Academy. But long before the rising ball of lights touches off the pyrotechnic finale, First Night stages burst with explosive, colorful talent all night long. Up to 50 different acts and activities in over 100 separate performances at 18 venues on and just off Main Street offer entertainment for all ages.
First Night is mostly about music. The thousands who have been celebrating together every New Year’s Eve since First Night St. Johnsbury was born in 1993, always hear music from many traditions The region’s rich musical scene showcases about as many genres as one can count – folk, pop, rock, jazz, bluegrass, Broadway, sacred, silly, contemporary, country, classical, covers, originals, and some that defy one-word description. And there’s plenty to see too: dance, circus acrobatics, magic, hypnotism, comedy, fire juggling, and planetarium shows, and movies. People can dance the night away to Big Band swing or classic rock. The kids can also work off some energy in an inflated playground and enjoy craft activities at the Family Fun Fair.
When not enjoying entertainment, revelers can buy food and beverage at a number of varied concessions and top it off at the free late night pancake supper.