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Fewer drawn to First Night in downtown

First Night Tampa Bay '99 chair Roberta Schofield estimates 15,000 people attended the non-alcoholic event New Year's Eve.

This number is down from past years, in part because of increased competition from Outback Bowl parties, First Night events in St. Petersburg and Dunedin and other New Year's Eve events, Schofield said.

Last year's celebration was estimated to have drawn 25,000 people to downtown Tampa.

Revenue figures from the sale of attendance buttons are still being tallied and should be available Jan. 15.

This was the seventh year Tampa has held the no-alcohol event, which originated in Boston in 1976 as a citywide performing and visual arts production.

Plans are being considered for the 2000 celebration with an emphasis on finding a corporate sponsor, Schofield said.

_ STEPHANIE GONZALES

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