Last Nights First

By Sandra Zunino

First Night® Talbot 2009, starting at 6:00 p.m. until midnight in downtown Easton on December 31, promises the best entertainment and family-friendly activities in the area.

The name “First Night®” is often puzzling to people since its celebration falls on the last night of the year. Because a new year is about new beginnings and is a time to discard the old, forget problems of the past, First Night® International chose the name “First Night” to symbolize a forward look instead of the technically correct words “Last Night”.

Musicians, dancers and actors take the stage at seven different venues for this year’s First Night® Talbot with a wide variety of professional performances at the Avalon Theatre, the Academy Art Museum, the Historical Society Auditorium and others. One low-priced admission gains access to each performance.

Among the new performers this year are Almost FAB! and The Swingin’ Swamis. Almost FAB! is a Beatles tribute band. The Swingin’ Swamis cover Jazz, Latin, R & B and Soul classics. After an absence of two years, local favorite the Sunny Isle Blues Band will be back to entertain at First Night®.

Also returning will be Dragon Wings Puppet Theatre, The Dance Harrison Street Dance Ensemble and three Gospel Choirs. Other popular annual First Night® activities include Amanda Showell’s ballroom dancing and ArtHouse Live’s Monologue competition.

Families will find kid-friendly entertainment as well with an entire venue dedicated to children’s amusement with moon bounces, train rides and fun crafts.

As always, the one-of-a-kind Eastern Shore countdown tradition of the Maryland Crab Drop continues with two scheduled ‘drops’ – one at 9:00 p.m. and the traditional countdown at midnight.

This is First Night® Talbot’s 15th year as part of First Night® International. The event would not be possible without the generosity and support of sponsors and volunteers, many of whom work year round on behalf of First Night® Talbot. This year’s sponsors include Candlelight Web Design, E.E. Streets Memorial Post 5118 VFW, Gipe Associates Inc., Hot Off the Coals, Easton Bank & Trust, Elks Easton Lodge BPO 1622, St. John Foundation, The Talbot Bank, Talbot Partnership and Town of Easton.

First Night® Talbot is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to non-profit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Partial funding is provided by the Talbot County Arts Council with funds from the Talbot County Council.

First Night® Talbot is still in need of volunteers. To get involved with the First Night festivities as a volunteer, contact Carolyn Jaffe, Community Coordinator at 410-820-8822. Volunteers receive free admission for the entire evening. High School students can earn community service hours as well.

Advance sale of First Night® Talbot 2009 admission buttons begins in mid December. Price in advance is $8 for adults and $4 for students. Admission buttons purchased on December 31 are $10 for adults and $5 for students, available at the door at most venues. Buttons will be sold at the Talbot County Visitors Center at 11 S. Harrison St.
For more information, call Carolyn at 410-820-8822 or visit www.easternshore.com/firstnighttalbot.

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