This New Year's Eve is the 20th anniversary Birthday Party For First Night. I was present at the first one, back when it was a homespun showcase of local culture and art spread out over a wide area. It still is that, albeit in a reduced fashion, now mostly concentrated in the parks along the waterside.
It runs from 7-11pm centered on North Straub Park.
|Fisrt Night 2012, The Labyrinth|
One of the highlights of this year will be the Birthday Party Cake by Artist and Gallerist Jennifer Kosharek (misidentified multiple times as Jennifer Kucharik in press releases, PDFs, etc.). This outsized multilayered cake will be available to First Nighters to draw and add to. At the end of the evening, it will be lit on fire to celebrate First Night's Birthday. Think of it as St. Pete's version of Zozobra [Link] or Burning Man [Link]. On the left is The Labyrinth from 2012, a great geomantic pilgrimage to its axis, a great tree.
On the left is a sneak preview of what a burning cake might look like, though sources tell me this one will be much better.
There will also be plenty of music, dances, participatory things, like burning secrets, wishes and regrets (a lot like toasting marshmallows, only quicker). On the left are the excellent Dundu Dole Dancers, who will be performing this year.
All of this happens on Dec. 31st, in St. Pete. One needs to get an admission button which sells for $10.00 each. They'll be available at Bay Walk or on the corner of 2nd Ave NE and Beach Drive. there's plenty of restaurants on Ocean Drive. Get there early to dodge parking problems, and be aware that it gets cold out by the water as the evening wears on so dress warmly, warmer than you think you'll need to. It's a great event.....alcohol free with plenty of things to do for children and adults.