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First Night North Celebrates 30 Years with Midnight Dance Party

First Night North will celebrate its 30th year as St. Johnsbury’s substance-free, family-friendly New Year’s Eve performing arts festival, on Saturday, December 31st. Event organizers are planning something special to mark the occasion.

To celebrate a return to live, in-person programming after two years of pandemic-related adaptations, First Night North will welcome 2023 with an outside community dance party. The party will gather in time to count down to the New Year, welcomed by the traditional raising of the First Night North Ball of Lights by Classen’s Crane at midnight.

Starting at 11:40pm on Main Street, a DJ will spin family-friendly hits, welcoming revelers to start the New Year off dancing in the streets. The dance party aims to encourage participation, movement, and the sheer joy of coming together again as a community. Friends, families, and neighbors are invited to start the brand new year in the best way possible: together, engaged in community-wide celebration. Dance ribbons will be available to add to the festive flair, and celebrants are encouraged to make and bring their own as well.

“Rather than our usual custom of passively enjoying fireworks,” says First Night North veteran organizer Jay Sprout, “I’m looking forward to seeing the community coming together on New Year’s Eve to dance and twirl hundreds of colorful ribbons. Imagine it!  What a happy sight that will be!”

The First Night North Ball of Lights, crafted by The Foundry (and larger, by the way, than the famous New Year’s Ball that drops over Times Square), will be raised by Classen’s Crane next to St. Johnsbury Academy’s Newell Hall in the last minute of 2022, following First Night’s typical spectacular program of eight hours of family-friendly live entertainment starring 200 performers in dozens of shows in multiple St. Johnsbury venues. In addition to dance, comedy, improv, storytelling, magic, hypnotism, and music of every variety, there will be food trucks, sit-down meals, and the beloved pancake supper as well as the Family Fun Fair, hosted this year by the St. Johnsbury Community Hub.

Another popular feature of First Night North is the Catamount Arts All Wheel for the Arts Raffle drawing. Tickets, available at, are on sale now for a chance to win a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport with a Burke Mountain ski pass and a stand-up paddle board. The winning ticket will be drawn during First Night North festivities.

To learn more about First Night North attractions including live performances, food options, and more, visit Buttons are on sale now, and early bid rates are available through December 24th. Pre-K children attend free of charge, as do volunteers, who get one free admission button for two hours of First Night North service.

Use the links below to navigate the First Night site.