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First Night Westport

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 downtown Westport & Saugatuck Elementary School  See map
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First Night Westport
Celebrates 20th Anniversary



with   Spectacular Line-Up of Performers  & Fireworks



 



First Night
Westport will herald in the new year with a spectacular playbill of top-notch
entertainment performing at seven downtown venues as well as the Saugatuck
Elementary School, 170  Riverside Ave. beginning
at 4 p.m. and culminating in a 10 p.m. fireworks spectacle over the Saugatuck
River.



Organizers
paid special attention this year to presenting a variety of entertainment for
children, teens and adults, ranging from the first-time local appearance of
renowned ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner, who was the ventriloquist consultant
on the Tina Fey movie, “Admissions,” to the sophisticated sounds of local
songstress Leslie Orofino and guitarist Gene Pino who with reedman Paul
Boehmke,  will be among the many
musicians and singers offering a diverse songbook representing many genres.



In noting
the event’s 20th year milestone, Barbara Pearson-Rac, First Night’s
board president, said, “First Night in Westport could never have aged so
gracefully without the strong support from our community, including voluntees,
local businesses and town government. This truly has been a community effort
and a wonderful gift to our local families. Again, we are bringing back your favorites
and adding some new surprises.”



Among the
big surprises, is the selection of the Saugatuck Elementary School for a
palette of special entertainment for the young and young at heart. Here, a
inflatable park will be set up in the school gymnasium from 4 to 8:30 p.m. for
children’s free play. Also, Linda Peck as Mary Poppins will roam the gym from 4
to 5:45 P.M.  as she brings youngsters
into her world of a London street.  Also,
ventriloquist Geffner will offer two shows in the school auditorium  beginning at 4:30 p.m. in which he will invite
members of the audience to join him on stage. Geffner, a concert pianist, who fell
in love with ventriloquism 30 years ago, finds it a wonderful opportunity to
entertain with a variety of his alter-egos.



Geffner will
be among the many entertainers appealing to revelers of all ages. Dennis Shore,
known affectionately as Dennis the Train Man will set up his collection of
trains in the Westport Public library’s McManus Room from 4 to 7 p.m. Shore is
a walking encyclopedia of all things trains and delights his audience – young
and old alike - with tales and information that keep a steady stream of
visitors to his exhibit. Other entertainers for all ages include the Magic
Genie, caricaturist John Stevens and the local performing group, “For the
Heart,” a dozen teen performers from Fairfield and Westport who will offer a
great night of music and entertainment from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. in the school
auditorium.



 



Opportunities
for dancing will be from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Branson Hall at Christ and
Trinity Church with the musical group, Squeaky Clean or square dancing at TD
Bank  from 7 to 9 p.m. with veteran
caller Al Brosek. Of course, there will be opportunity for some impromput
dancing to the Motown sounds of Tim Currie and his Motown Revue Band performing
in the Westport Town Hall auditorium at 5:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.



Musical
performances also include Washboard Slim and the Bluelights, Chris Coogan, the
Good News Gospel Choir, the Federation, RPM, Bach to Broadway, Mark Naftalin
and the Paul and Gene Jazz Duo. Reedman Paul Boehmke and guitarist will perform
in the Westport Weston Y’s Bedford Room beginning at 5 p.m., the same location
where the late Bob Lasprogato performed last year with his jazz combo that
included Boehmke, who often performed with the late drummer.   While primarily
focusing on the best in jazz from the 1920s forward, the band is also known to
season its performances with tunes from the rock, blues, Latin, pop and even
classical repertories, all performed with a jazz sensibility.



 Members of the Westport Community Theatre will
return to First Night with performances in Westport Town Hall’s lower
auditorium with three shows beginning at 5:30, 7:15 and 9 p.m.



First Night will
also include  face painting, animal
caricatures, psychics, fortune tellers, palm readers, the Bigelow Teahouse and
the popular horse-drawn carriage rides (with button ticket)  that will leave from the Y.



The fireworks
spectacle begins at 10 p.m. over the Saugatuck River. According to the fire department
the fireworks will be best viewed from the library parking lot and along
Imperial Avenue. The bridge will be less than optimum as its elevation is lower
than the shooting site. The Imperial Avenue parking lot will be closed
overnight on Dec. 30 and remain closed through New Year’s Eve to accommodate
the fireworks show.



Admission to
all First Night Westport events is with purchase of the First Night button,
which costs $15.  Children under two are
free.



Buttons may
be purchased at the following locations: Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery
Place; Westport Public Library, Jesup Green; Oscar’s Deli, 159 Main St.; Trader
Joe’s, 400 Post Road East; TD Bank, 185 Main St.; Weston Hardware, 190 Weston
Road in Weston; and Currie Tire, 599 West Ave., Norwalk



First Night
Westport is a non-alcoholic celebration of the arts in Westport to herald the
new year. For further information call 203-341-1041 or visit www.firstnight ww.com  to purchase buttons online and to see the
complete line up and schedule of performers.



 




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