Final First Night Harrisonburg

Ring in the New Year with thousands of your friends and neighbors at First Night Harrisonburg. Activities and performances will begin at 6:00 p.m. downtown and continue until midnight in the Turner Pavilion in Harrisonburg. To celebrate, we will highlight the arts and bring the community together by transforming various locations into performance venues that showcase local and regional talents. Past performances have included a range of live music, from bluegrass to rock n’ roll for the adults, and puppets, face painters and magicians for the kids.

All of the venues are alcohol-free, and are within easy walking distance. And, at the stroke of midnight, we celebrate the dawning of a new year with a ball drop at the Turner Pavilion. A mini-fireworks show will take place within the Turner Pavilion grounds at midnight.

In its 27-year history, First Night has developed a reputation as a safe, exciting, family-friendly alternative to traditional New Year’s celebrations. We anticipate more than 3,000 people joining together as they say goodbye to 2019 and celebrate the beginnings of a new year. So, make plans now to celebrate at First Night Harrisonburg!

Evening Schedule (All Free)

Children’s Activities

Explore More Discovery Museum an interactive children’s museum, provides activities from 6:00 until 9:00 pm. Location: 150 South Main Street.

The Bubble Wrap Dance Party takes place at 9:00 pm. in front of the Museum.

The Barefoot Puppets have been building and performing original and award-winning works since 1997. They tour nationally creating new works for young audiences and their families. Location: Massanutten Regional Library, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., and 8:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Mike Deaton’s Rhythm Playground. Mike will showcase a few drums and percussion instruments from different parts of the world. Join in for some community music making with simple hand-held instruments! Location: Massanutten Regional Library, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

The Magic of Brian Bence: Brian includes music, comedy, and magic to provide a fun-filled interactive show that is sure to be memorable. Location: Outside! Brian will perform as he strolls throughout downtown and at the Turner Pavilion; from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Rainbow Designs Face Painting By Sarah Zaidman. Each child gets a unique design complete with glitter and gems! Location: Asbury United Methodist Church, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. (lower level / South entrance).


  • 9:30 p.m. for families with young children, and those “too seasoned” to stay up until midnight!

General Entertainment

John C. Wells Planetarium Shows and times are pending.

Hotel Madison —Jazz Trio plays a variety of jazz, blues, and Brazilian music. They will perform three sets of 45 minutes each 6:00, 7:00 & 8:00. Join them in the hotel’s lobby. Location: 710 S Main St. Park free in the JMU parking garage off S. Mason Street.

Dance & Company Resident performing company. The Shenandoah Contemporary Dance Theater will perform a dance repertoire at 7:00 p.m. Location: 115 S. Main St.

Dwight Martin singer-songwriter-performing artist from Harrisonburg, playing “Hits from Past to Present” classic rock, country songs, and top 40 (Beatles, Eric Clapton, U2). at OASIS.Location: 103 S. Main St. 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

General Entertainment at the Turner Pavilion

Randy Black The Broadway (VA) resident has been entertaining people with music for over 30 years. He offers a wide range of music, from solo to full band in a professional manner.Time: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Big City Band This Grottoes (VA) based band plays a mixture of traditional and new country music along with Classic and Southern Rock.Time: 8:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Nothin’ Fancy BluegrassBand is known for their smooth vocal blends, stirring performances, and irrepressible humor.Time: 10:00 – 11:30 p.m.

DJ Chuck Morris will serve as the emcee and for the fifth year will lead the crowd in the popular Countdown Dance Party from 11:30 p.m. to midnight!


  • At 11:58 p.m. we will begin the count down to ringing in the New Year, 2020.


  • At midnight we will “go out with a bang” with a brief fireworks show. The BEST viewing of this show will be within the Turner Pavilion on the hill (near the main stage).

First Night – Held Cold, Rain &/or Snow*

Dress in layers for inside and outside activities. (*Activities will not be canceled as long as conditions are safe for both participants and attendees. If conditions are deemed “unsafe” such as a blizzard, etc. please check First Night Harrisonburg Facebook, Local News Sources, and The City of Harrisonburg’s Information pages.)


The Food Vendors: Located in the Turner Pavilion

Strite’s Donuts are back by popular demand with their hot out of the fryer donuts.

Crazy Fox Coffee & Hot Chocolate will be on hand as well.

Food is always associated with celebrations. There are many great restaurants and businesses downtown that will have their doors open New Year’s Eve. First Night wants everyone to celebrate and enjoy themselves at this Festival of Arts event.

Ball Drop

BALL DROP: New this year, there will be two ball drops:

  • First at 9:30 for families with young children.
  • Second, at 11:58 PM will begin the count down to ringing in the New Year, 2019.


Parking is available in the two parking decks located downtown, and at the Turner Pavilion.

  • Water Street Parking Deck – located between West Water Street and West Bruce Street, accessible from both of these roads,
  • Elizabeth Street Parking Deck – located off of North Mason Street, accessible from Wolfe Street and Elizabeth Street.
  • Turner Pavilion – enter off of Liberty Street,

Street Closures

Street Closures for First Night from 5:00 pm until the event concludes

  • Main Street from Franklin to Water Street (5:30 – 10:00 p.m.)
  • Warren Street (5:30 p.m. – 1:-00 a.m.)

Performance Venues

Smoking is not permitted in public buildings. Food and drink are not permitted except where sold at event concessions. Seating is first-come, first-served, and all venues will be emptied before the next seating begins. Please respect houses of worship and help us keep all program areas and downtown clean by depositing trash in public receptacles.


Most performance venues have restrooms and are handicap accessible. Portable toilets are located on the south end of the Turner Pavilion.


Volunteers with yellow ribbons will be more than happy to assist you. Please ask a volunteer if you have questions. Please see the volunteer page for more information.

Main Stage DJ

For the fifth year we are happy to welcome back DJ Charles Morris. Chuck comes with 10 years experience, from the usual cookout all the way to the elegant weddings. Any event, any time, DJ Chuck’s one of a kind!

Visit for more info

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