Please click icon below for captions.
First Night Morris 2014 lived up to its billing, offering a splendid smorgasbord of entertainments to ring in the New Year.
And the public response augurs well for more First Nights, said Craig Schlosser, director of the 22nd annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza in Morristown.
“We’re continuing to build momentum, to where we were five years ago,” said Craig. Based on his day-after conversations with Chairman Michael Schmidt, Craig said, “we’re definitely in the black.”
He estimated Tuesday’s attendance at between 4,000 and 4,500 people, approaching last year’s mark.
That’s not bad, he said, considering this First Night was much colder and was preceded by a hint of snow, which always scares off potential visitors.
More than 300 musicians, dancers, actors and comics gave 80 performances at 24 venues across Morristown. Admission badges cost $25, and some 30 sponsors picked up the slack in the $155,000 budget.
“It was a great job across the board from a lot of people,” said Craig, praising artistic director Dr. Lynn Siebert of Morris Arts, 150 volunteers, and even the shuttle bus drivers from the Atlantic Health System.
The icy wind bedeviled the evening’s fireworks and prompted organizers to scrap food sales on the Morristown Green, Craig said.
But one new twist that proved a hit was an early 5 pm start for kids activities that included StoryFaces (a combination of storytelling and face-painting), LEGO building, and arts and crafts.
“We’re having such a great time, and really looking forward to the face-painting,” Carol Hueston of Morris Plains said on New Year’s Eve, as her 6-year-old twins Cory and Jade diligently worked on New Year’s crowns in the Morristown High School cafeteria.
“We’ll definitely be back next year,” said Long Hill resident Josephine Infante-Meehan, whose children Mossino, 9, and Francesca, 12, sported magnificent African jungle scenes painted on their faces by Christopher Agostino of StoryFaces.
Francesca said she had no intention of ever washing away the artwork.
Colorful visages weren’t just for youngsters, however. Charlie Qiao, a 24-year-old student at the Stevens Institute of Technology, also had a wondrous paint job, along with his friends, Sandie Song and Sophia Liang.
“This is very good,” said Charlie, a native of China, enjoying his first First Night. “It’s a wonderful experience.”
On New Year’s Eve we saw the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, Dinoman Dinosaurs, Deadwood Dick (Rochel Coleman), John Ginty and Bad News Travels, Marshal Manlove, Dan Levinson’s Fête Manouche (Gypsy Jazz) and comic Ben Trackman. Who did you see at First Night Morris 2014?
Photos by Scott Schlosser. Please click icon below for captions.