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First Night Harrisonburg set for final event

Final First Night Harrisonburg

Free Entertainment & Fireworks

Harrisonburg – After 28 years the final First Night Harrisonburg New Year’s Eve celebration will take place at the Turner Pavilion on December 31st.The decision to end the family-oriented and alcohol-free Festival of the Arts was made by the event’s Board of Directors.

The festival will have a number of traditional and children activities while also adding some new elements to the finale, including free admission, outside concerts at the Turner Pavilion, and a fireworks show.

“There were a number of factors involved in the decision to wrap up the event,” said Troy Suter, the Board’s President.“We have been fortunate with generous contributors, sponsors and volunteers for nearly three decades; yet, we found ourselves facing significant obstacles.”

“We knew some funding was being cut this year and likely more in 2020,” Suter stated. “Combine that knowledge with declining ticket sales, and we knew we had to make a serious call”.

“The festival’s life cycle is coming to an end,” Suter declared, “but not before we put on one more tremendous show.We want to thank the greater Harrisonburg & Rockingham County communities for their support; it has been a great run.”

At the Turner Pavilion the sounds of local artist Randy Black will start to fill the air at 6:00 p.m. The local group Big City Band will follow Black at 8:00 p.m.After the first of two Disco Ball Drops, the Bluegrass Band Nothin’ Fancy will take the stage from 10 to 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 prior to the final Disco Ball Drop at midnight.

“We are excited about our entertainment line-up,” stated Mike Betts, First Night Harrisonburg’s Executive Director. “We literally get to go out with a bang! We have worked diligently with the City of Harrisonburg’s Fire Department to gain approval for a fireworks show,” Betts added, “and we will welcome 2020 in style!”

“Our hope is that many folks who have attended in the past, along with first-timers, will join us as we celebrate the festival and its history,” Betts stated. “It’s too early to be concerned about the weather, but it’s a perfect time to plan to enjoy parts or all of an evening of free music and entrainment.”

Activities for all ages will start at 6:00 p.m. in a number of indoor venues. The locations include the Explore More Discovery Museum, the Massanutten Regional Library, Oasis Fine Arts & Crafts, Asbury United Methodist Church, JMU’s John C. Wells Planetarium, and Hotel Madison.

Magician Brian Bence will perform in various outside locations, and at 7 p.m., Dance & Company will offer a local residents’ performance at their Main Street location. At 9:00 p.m., the children’s Bubble Wrap Dance Party will take place outside in front of the Explore More Discovery Museum.

A complete list of artists and performers can be found on the First Night Harrisonburg’s Facebook page and website --

Also located at the Turner Pavilion will be Strite’s Donuts and Crazy Fox Coffee offering their well-known products for purchase to festival attendees.

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