First Night

Posted - Dec. 28, 2001 at 8:23 a.m.



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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Millions of people throughout the United States now celebrate the New Year by participating in what is called "First Night." I have wondered about the name. Why "First Night?" After all isn't New Year’s Eve really the "last night?"

Well, the event first started in Boston, Mass., in 1976. I am told that the originators of the plan thought that "First Night" was appropriate because the celebration is a positive association with ending the old year and welcoming and beginning the New Year.

First Night is a great idea. Many people wanted a safe, sober, family way to celebrate the holiday. They wanted an alternative to traditional revelry. Too many people were having difficulty finding a wholesome, organized event that was fun, pleasurable, inexpensive and enriching. The Boston community led by artists and musicians organized the celebration with fifty-three performances held at various locations and subway stops around the Boston Commons. Over 25,000 people attended the performances, which included music, modern dance, theater, storytelling and more. It was a smash success and has grown in Boston ever since.

Soon after the success in Boston was made known, other cities quickly embraced the idea. Honolulu, Hawaii was the next big city to incorporate the idea and soon cities in practically every state planned and presented their own First Night celebrations. It has also caught on internationally. Over 200 similar celebrations are now held worldwide.

The Downtown Alliance in Salt Lake City had immediate success with their program and soon other Utah cities started the celebrations. Zions Bank this year is sponsoring and supporting First Night celebrations in St. George, Provo, Salt Lake City and Ogden.

The Utah programs have a mission of providing quality entertainment for people of all ages and uniting communities by highlighting the local culture, art groups and area attractions in a fun, alcohol-free environment.

It's just a little early but may I be the first to say to you, "Happy New Year,' and be sure and enjoy First Night in St. George, Provo, Salt Lake City or Ogden.

For Zions Bank, I’m Fred ball. I'm speaking on business.

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