The 32nd annual First Night Buffalo, sponsored by the Independent Health Foundation, in partnership with The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation, will be celebrated virtually for everyone looking forward to the promise of the new year in 2021.
“First Night Buffalo has always been about offering families a safe and healthy, drug- and alcohol-free way to celebrate New Year’s Eve together,” said Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president and CEO, Independent Health. “The new year presents the opportunity to make commitments to improving our personal health. First Night Buffalo is a great place to celebrate that fresh start. Keeping that tradition alive this year, we’re proud to present a safe and healthy way to celebrate virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As the Independent Health Foundation’s signature event, First Night typically has drawn capacity crowds of up to 5,000 to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center for an affordable, drug- and alcohol-free celebration full of activities, music and entertainment for everyone. This year’s virtual event will provide families a fun, engaging way to celebrate New Year’s Eve safely in their own homes. Families will be able to enjoy many of the festivities of years’ past, along with entertaining new features.
“With change comes opportunity. Our new virtual format will allow us to keep the First Night Buffalo tradition alive and it’s our hope we’ll have more families than ever celebrating with us this year!” said Carrie Meyer, executive director, Independent Health Foundation. “The show will go on!”
Families can also purchase limited quantities of First Night Buffalo family party packs now available for $20 at 15 participating Tops Friendly Markets’ customer service desks. Each party pack includes everything a family of four needs to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home. Some of the contents include party hats, disco ball lightbulb, balloon drop and balloon animals, noise makers, glow sticks and resolution/wish jar.
A complete list of participating Tops Friendly Markets locations is available online at www.firstnightbuffalo.org.
First Night Buffalo is also partnering with the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights “2020 Style.” The First Night Buffalo party pack includes one admission ticket, good for one vehicle, to attend the annual event that is a drive-thru only experience at the Hamburg Fairgrounds. The ticket can be used any one night through Dec. 31 at the Festival of Lights (except Christmas Eve/Christmas). This year, on Dec. 31, there will be a twist on new year’s celebrations: While driving through the lights, a fireworks display every hour (on the half hour between 5:30-9:30 p.m.) will provide families the opportunity to ring in the new year from the comfort and safety of their vehicle.
“I know this has been a challenging year, but together we can get through this,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. “Let’s show the world why we are the City of Good Neighbors. Join us virtually, like never before, and turn to the new year with a sense of hope and renewal.”
First Night Buffalo 2021 Virtual Entertainment Lineup
First Night Buffalo family entertainment will be accessible and free for everyone to enjoy online at www.firstnightbuffalo.org, beginning on New Year’s Eve. A press release said it will include:
•Jeff Musial – Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics: Calling all creatures! Join us on the wild side with the hysterically funny Jeff and his exotic animals. Come to see the animals – stay for Jeff’s amazing facts and great jokes!
•Storytime brought to you by Buffalo & Erie County Public Library: Dive deep into your favorite stories with your friends at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library. They will be reading stories from “Elephant & Piggie” and “Cat in the Hat.”
•Nick Presents Magic: Nick Presents Magic is a lively presentation of interactive magic and comedy for all ages to enjoy! Watch Nick will teach you how to make animals out of balloons and how to do a card trick that will stump all your friends! Prepare to watch the magic unfold before your eyes!
•Dance Party with DJ Milk: Grab your glow necklace, screw in your disco lightbulb and let’s groove! Move and groove with DJ Milk as he plays your favorite tunes. Keep an eye open for a visit from a few special friends!
•In Jest with Nels Ross: Nels is back with a special guest, Noah, for a comedy juggling show! The best part? You get to learn how to juggle too! Be sure to follow along so you do not miss a step!
•Emmalee ’s Memories: Join your favorite characters, Elsa and Anna from Arendelle, Poppy the troll princess and Captain America as they ring in 2021! Get ready to sing along and dance as they wish you a happy New Year!
•Art by Shea McCarty: Grab your paint brush and follow along with Shea as she shows you fun face paint designs for the whole family!
•Explore & More: Learn about New Year’s traditions around the world during storytime and create your own snowflake using tissue paper with your friends from Explore & More.
First Night Buffalo 2021 also is sponsored by Independent Health, The Buffalo News, Lamar Advertising, Family Choice of New York, The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Tops Friendly Markets and 7 Eyewitness News.
Established in 1992, the Independent Health Foundation works to improve the health and well-being of Western New York residents through awareness, prevention, education, and other programs focused on community health priorities. For more information on the foundation’s activities, visit www.independenthealth.com/foundation.