I have been to every First Night Worcester since its inception. The community spirit of First Night Worcester is palpable throughout the venues - the whole downtown area is alive with creative energy as families excitedly make their way from one performance or creative activity to another.
This organization could simply be a New Year's celebration of the arts. But it has embraced a wider mission--that of introducing young and old, new immigrant or established citizen to the arts through community outreach, teacher training and participatory experiences during the year leading up to its big blast--December 31's celebration of the arts and of community. The organization is volunteer driven and responsive to the community. They have an outreach program "The Deaf Theatre Residency" that pairs Deaf and Hard of Hearing kids with professional D&HH;actor(s), students at Holy Cross College studying sign language, and FNW staff to experience the wonders of theater and cultimates in a performance by the D&HH;students at First Night. And that only scratches the surface. In addition, the board and staff of FNW have gone out of their way to make their celebration affordable--children 10 and under are given free admission to all of the December 31st performances and events; admission button prices are kept artificially lower than a movie ticket; sponsors are encouraged to purchase bulk buttons for local nonprofits and shelters...the list goes on and on. But most of all--First Night Worcester is FUN and brings neighbor next to neighbor on the streets of downtown and in many of downtown's historic buildings for concerts, theatre, art making, ballet, comedy, and much much more.
This organization rallies the entire community to provide ongoing experiences in the arts for teachers and students and to create a creative alternative New Year's Eve celebration in Central Massachusetts.