Joyce is very proud of her complete collection of First Night buttons and was disappointed when the New Year’s Eve extravaganza lacked sufficient funds to go forward in 2003.
Local artists and performers stepped up to the plate to continue the tradition, with help from the City of Providence, the State of Rhode Island and many other benefactors.
Last year’s festival featured over 160 performers in 24 venues throughout the capitol city. This year over 100 performers and over 12 venues are expected to attract thousands of people to the event.
Activities begin in the early afternoon and continue until the clock strikes 12. The afternoon activities, mostly at the Convention Center (noon to 5 p.m.), are aimed at children and families, with a variety of performances for all ages offered late into the evening. Alas, lack of funding cut out fireworks and big name acts many years ago, but there are still many fine local talents picking up the gap.
Thanks to a grant from BankRI, Bright Night will be able to offer a number of events that would not have otherwise been possible.
There’s a Blues Bash at Benificent Church from 7-11 p.m.; Big Nazo Puppets are at URI’s Paff Center, followed by a night of Improv; Perishable Space on Empire St. has storytelling, followed by an Acoustic Café; Mathewson St. Church features magic and comedy; jazz (Greg Abate) and folk (A.S. Monroe) are also at Beneficent Church. There will be wandering minstrels and food trucks in Kennedy Plaza and skating at the nearby rink.
For the young adult crowd, AS220 will host a New Year’s Eve party, featuring the Viennagram, Atlantic Thrills and Kid and the Wolf from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Roots Cultural Center features Joshua2 and The Dark Horses from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Familiar faces like Marvelous Marvin and Lon Cerel will also perform.
Tickets are $15 until Dec. 30 and can be purchased at Bank of America branches and other locations. Tickets are $20 the day of the event and can be purchased at all Bright Night venues. Children under 15 are $10. For further information go to www.brightnight.org.