FIRST NIGHT UPDATE
Dec. 31, 2:30 p.m.
CHATHAM — Due to anticipated rain and wind, tonight's midnight fireworks have been canceled. The fireworks at Veterans Field after the 6 p.m. Noise Parade will go off as planned.
Main First Night story:
With button sales just starting to pick up momentum, people are gearing up for the town’s famous First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve.
The pieces are in place for another fun-filled, family-oriented party, with a special “gone country” theme this year.
The full schedule of events can be found in The Chronicle’s First Night special supplement, available for free at First Night Headquarters, at The Chronicle’s offices and at the Chatham Chamber of Commerce visitor center in South Chatham. You can also find a full, up-to-the-minute schedule at www.FirstNightChatham.com.
The event typically draws thousands of people to town, depending on the weather. The festivities begin at noon on New Year’s Eve with the town photo at the lighthouse; prints can then be purchased after 2 p.m. at the Chatham CVS. The Carnival Caper road Race starts the fun at 3 p.m. at the Chatham Squire, with the costume judging starting a half-hour earlier.
More than 60 performances and activities take place through the afternoon and evening at 15 different venues, offering all types of music and dance, magic and fun. Many of the events before 6 p.m. are geared for younger revelers, but the entire event is family-friendly and alcohol free.
First Night Buttons are required for admission to most indoor venues; they can be purchased at First Night Headquarters at 579 Main St. for $22 for adults 12 and over, and $5 for children over age three. Volunteers report that button sales become much more brisk as New Year’s Eve approaches, but it’s best to buy buttons soon, since only a limited number are sold. After Dec. 29, the adult button price goes up to $25.
But not all of the events require buttons. One staple of First Night Chatham, and every First Night celebration, is the Noise Parade. Youngsters and oldsters will gather on Main Street at the intersection of Cross Street, toting horns, drums, party honkers and every other manner of noisemaker. The procession steps off at 6 p.m. and makes its way to the community center, where a special early fireworks display takes place.
In keeping with this year’s event theme, there will be several special country-inspired activities. There will be pony rides and horse-drawn wagon rides around downtown, and a special country musical act that’s new to First Night Chatham. Kevin White, an acclaimed Garth Brooks tribute performer, will play two shows in the auditorium of Monomoy Middle School, at 8 and 9 p.m. There will even be line-dance instruction and plenty of country music at the Community Center gym from 7 to 9 p.m.
There are plenty of food offerings for New Year’s Eve partygoers, as well. The First Night website lists nearly a dozen food vendors, from the lasagna supper at the congregational church and “chuck wagon beef stew” at the Methodist Church to Porky’s BBQ of Cape Cod, set up outside the community center. And, of course, restaurants up and down Main Street will be welcoming First Night patrons.
The countdown to midnight happens, as always, at the Oyster Pond. Revelers will wait for the illumination of Countdown Cod, Chatham’s answer to the Times Square ball, and then enjoy a fireworks show.
Organizers strongly encourage First Night revelers to make use of the free shuttle service, which runs a loop between satellite parking at the middle school and the rotary; it runs from 1 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., when it will shuttle people from Oyster Pond back to the school parking lot. A second shuttle bus from 7 to 10 p.m. services Holy Redeemer Catholic Church from the rotary.