"Over 20,000 revelers expected at Tacoma's annual First Night"

“Throughout antiquity masks have been a part of celebrations. Styles of masks used in cultures throughout the world–either for entertainment or spiritual purposes–can be seen as art installations on a number of buildings on Broadway in downtown Tacoma. This New Year’s eve these masks, a triad mask of Celtic origin from Ireland, and a Caribbean carnival mask, can be seen on a walkway wall near Theatre Square where First Night activities will take place. (Photo by Bonnie West) For the ninth year in a row, fun-seeking celebrants can party at First Night-Tacoma and Pierce County’s New Year’s Eve fete.First Night is an alcohol-free, family-friendly celebration of the arts and cultural diversity in South Puget Sound.Beginning at 5 p.m., on Sunday, Dec. 31, more than 20 venues and 20,000-plus revelers are expected to trans-form downtown Tacoma into a stage filled with music, dancing, comedy, magic, parades and art-making activities. Celebrators will find venues throughout downtown Tacoma, from Antique Row and the Theatre District to University of Washington at Tacoma and the Union Station.The main stage with many of the activities taking place will be at the Theatre Square located at South Ninth and Broadway. Fun and festivities include:- Great music, including rock, jazz and calypso.- Family-friendly events, including face painting, art making, storytelling. – Magicians and even performing pigs. – Merrymakers’ march with jugglers, drummers, dancers, music makers and free kazoos for anyone willing to decorate themselves and join the parade.- Countdown to midnight featuring a 40-foot sculpture, Pinnacle of Light, an interactive spectacle that concludes the evening.A First Night button admits revelers to every event. Buttons are on sale at Pierce County Safeway stores and Columbia Bank branches, Pierce Transit bus shops, University Bookstore-Tacoma; Broadway Center for the Performing Arts and select downtown Tacoma merchants. Buttons can be purchased for $10 in advance, $12 on Dec. 31.Kids seven and under are free.As a co-sponsor of First Night, the city provides some funding for the event, as well as police security, garbage service, street maintenance, barricades and portable toilets.Contact Charlee Glock Jackson at 253/857-5604 with any questions. “