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St. Louis’ ‘First Night’ Celebration: Broader And More Extreme

First Night 2013 poster
Courtesy First Night

Grand Center has a two-pronged approach for luring more revelers to its “First Night” New Year’s Eve party this year.

Organizers look to active entertainment to bring in the families and a wide spectrum of participants. And they hope a more mature late-night lineup will attract teenagers and adults without children.

This year’s “Extreme ’14” event opens with children’s art activities and a performance by Claire the Clown. But around 10:30 the programming starts to become more appealing to teens and 20-somethings with a video DJ and acts including an electronic-based music and sound artist.

It’s a slight shift that aims to increase a recent trend of young adults replacing some of family crowd as the evening moves toward midnight, according to Grand Center events director Travis Howser.

“In the last three years, we have really started to see that audience show up,” Howser said.

Throughout the night, party-goers of all ages will notice more action this year, Howser said. A team of ice-carvers with chainsaws is scheduled for four performances. Their creations will lean toward St. Louis-themes -- perhaps an arch or a cardinal -- in a nod to the city’s 250th birthday in 2014.

A group of trampoline artists will also transform the look of Grand Center, Howser said.

“They’ll have a large trampoline out in the middle of Grand,” Howser said. “Part of their competition is to see who can get the highest.”

“First Night” will continue to be an alcohol-free evening. Restaurant-goers can still drink in any of the surrounding establishments. But no alcohol will be served in specific “First Night” venues, and police will be watching out for any signs of trouble or non-compliance.

"Nobody’s walking around checking everybody’s cups or giving everybody breathalyzers,” Howser said. “But if somebody appears to be drunk or if somebody's opening drinking, then they’ll be stopped.”

'First Night'

When: 6 p.m.-midnight, Tuesday, Dec. 30
Where: Grand Center, Grand Boulevard
How much: $10 adults/$5 children online, $12 and $6 at event
Buttons: Can be ordered up until start time through the Grand Center online store
Information: Grand Center website

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

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