First Night Columbus to include Teen Idol contest

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New Year’s Day is in sight and revelers can celebrate the end of 2007 on Dec. 31 at First Night Columbus held at multiple indoor and outdoor venues scattered throughout downtown Columbus.

One hundred-fifty performers-from solo artists to bands and ensembles-along with stilt walkers, dancers, and jugglers and dozens of activities will be featured at 30 locations across Columbus’ downtown.

Highlights

•Veterans Memorial is the host site for a number of events from Imagination and Fascination Stations, where participants create handmade masterpieces, to a Family and Children’s Festival. For the fourth year in a row, aspiring authors and poets ages 12 and under from local schools will present their work at the First Night Author’s League book display, a First Night International award-winning event, at Veterans Memorial from 4:30-10:30 p.m. The event is a partnership with the Thurber House. Judges will award one story from each age group with a writing class scholarship.

•New this year is Capture the Moment, an installation art project at the Rhodes Tower at the Bob Evans Pancake Party from 7-10:30 p.m. Local organizations were invited to create one-of-a-kind sculptures based on blank 10×13 inch picture frames. Each piece will be auctioned off at the end of the event, with net proceeds benefiting the organization creating the work.

•First Night Teen Idol competition joins with the First Night Teen Dance at the Broad Street venue in the Wayne Brehm Room from 8-11 p.m. Talented teenagers from local high schools battle it out to be named Teen Idol and then dance the night away with games, contests, and raffles at the dance with DJ Trent Iguchi. The winner of the competition is determined by audience applause. For information, contact Tausha Carter at 679-1034.

•First Night admission buttons are an all-access pass to activities and exhibits at COSI from 5-10 p.m. where Science Street presents work from Invention Convention and Future Cities and Millennium Mobile DJ plays family tunes in the science center’s atrium.

•Pop, squish, and twist on a giant bubble wrap mat on the plaza at City Hall from 8:30-10:30 p.m. as DJ QBeat supplies the tunes before heading out along Broad Street at 11 p.m. in the People’s Procession to Genoa Park for the Grand Finale and fireworks. The parade is led by Mayor Michael Coleman and his wife, Frankie, and features the Saints Drum Line.

•Giant streetlights illuminate the night at a Block Party on Civic Center Drive from 6-11 p.m. Using chisels, hammers, and even a chainsaw, a sculptor will transform ordinary blocks of ice into works of art while Perrysburg artist Sue Hughes brings canvas to life with interactive life size panels offering participants an opportunity to step inside a work of art.  Events also include First Night Alfombra where participants create decorative ground coverings using materials such as sawdust, sand, seeds, flower petals, corn kernels, and beans.

•Hand-in-hand with the entertainment outlets are a variety of food venues. The annual Pancake and Syrup Party will be held from 6-10:30 p.m. at the Rhodes State Office Tower. The $6 meal includes pancakes and a choice of hot coffee or cold beverage with free refills.

A family friendly event

"As we bring 2007 to a celebratory end, we are looking forward to ringing in the New Year with family and friends," said Frankie and Michael Coleman on the First Night Columbus Web site. "This family-friendly event continues to grow and bring people together from all around our region.

"Downtown Columbus is definitely the place to be as we welcome in the first moments of 2008. Experience the magic as friends, neighbors, and families come together for one special night with 200 artists and tons of entertainment."

In August, the First Night Columbus Board of Directors announced the appointment of Promotions One, Inc. as its production, marketing and public relations agency providing operations, marketing and promotion functions under one unified service.

"Our goal is to continue the vision that made First Night the award-winning community event that it is today," said Promotions One President Michael Collins. "We are excited about our expanded involvement with First Night in 2006 and the wonderful people that make this event a success year after year."

Admission buttons

Admission buttons for the annual New Year’s Eve event are on sale at Meijer stores, Fifth Third bank locations, COSI, and Cord Camera stores. Advance sale buttons are $10 or $12 the day of the event. Children age five and under are admitted free. Buttons can also be purchased online at www.firstnightcolumbus.com.

Parking and other information

Although many of the venues are indoors, First Night Columbus will be held regardless of the weather and free shuttle service will be provided. Many parking lots and garages throughout the area are offering discounted parking on Dec. 31 after 3 p.m. when you show your First Night Columbus button. Parking meters on major downtown streets will be free starting at 6 p.m.

Volunteers are needed to help staff events and various shifts/opportunities for individuals, families, or groups are available. Volunteers receive a free admission button, free t-shirt, Spaghetti Warehouse coupon, and prizes from local businesses.

For information on First Night Columbus, visit www.firstnightcolumbus.com.

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