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After 28 years, St. Petersburg’s First Night party will be virtual this year

The New Year’s Eve event pivots to an online platform due to the pandemic.

After 28 years, First Night St. Pete will be a three-hour virtual event this year instead of the sprawling family-friendly New Year’s Eve party held across downtown St. Petersburg.

“Due to the global pandemic, and in order to ensure a safe transition into 2021, First Night will be providing family-friendly fun to the people of St Petersburg and beyond in the comforts of their own home,” the organization said in a news release Thursday.

Normally, the alcohol-free event would include art, concerts, kids climbing the banyon trees and meandering through a lighted labyrinth, followed by a fireworks show.

The event will still be selling First Night buttons, which traditionally is what you needed to get into a concert or for a kid to jump into a bouncy house. The button sales support the charitable organization.

I popular feature of the New Year's Eve celebration First Night St. Pete was to walk through the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Resolution Labyrinth. Attendees were able to participate in several cultural activities, including art installations, watching dance and musical performances, arts and crafts and watching fireworks.
I popular feature of the New Year's Eve celebration First Night St. Pete was to walk through the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Resolution Labyrinth. Attendees were able to participate in several cultural activities, including art installations, watching dance and musical performances, arts and crafts and watching fireworks. [ EVE EDELHEIT | Tampa Bay Times (2015) ]

Interactive components include a salsa lesson, sing along to songs, a chance for First Night button holders to make a live cameo appearance and an opportunity for everyone to take part in a resolution bonfire.

Button packages are $25, $35 and $100 at FirstNightStPete.com and will be on sale on Nov. 1.

Button packages for two to four people include “entry” into the virtual platform, a button, a piece of bubble wrap for the traditional bubble stomp announced by WDUV’s Ann Kelly, special performances by Tampa Bay area artists, a live painting by Zulu Painter and a resolution bonfire burning with viewer input.

“The first hour will be solely dedicated to the kiddos with FirstKIDS interactive projects and live performances,” said Jamie McWade, the event’s executive director. “The following two hours will be filled with family friendly entertainment and it includes some interactive art components, like the resolution fire sculpture by James Oleson. First Night button holders will have the opportunity to submit their New Year’s Eve resolutions via text and or photo to the supplied link then on New Year’s Eve they’ll see their resolutions printed and burnt up to the stars. Our vision is to invite First Night goers to safely be a part of the community, without having to be out in the community.”

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