It was the coldest night on record in downtown Akron on New Year’s Eve, but the 22nd annual First Night Akron drew approximately 10,500 revelers to welcome the new year.
Six downtown sites were filled with more than 45 artists and groups showcasing music, dance, theater and interactive and visual arts. Because of the cold weather, the three bands scheduled for the outdoor Mainstage moved into the John S. Knight Center, and the horse drawn carriage rides on Main Street were cancelled.
“We were delighted to see so many people come out this year. Despite the low temperatures, the spirit of community warmed the hearts of our revelers,” said Suzie Graham, Downtown Akron Partnership president. “As usual this event could not happen without the support of our partners, the city of Akron, 200-plus volunteers, participating venues and METRO RTA for providing transportation between sites.”
Approximately one-third of First Night Akron acts were new to the event or returned after time off including, Hard Day’s Night, Charm the Guard, Blu Pi, Floco Torres, Daniel Rylander, ArtSparks TNT, The Kahuna Kings and Joy Unspeakable. Traditional favorites like Akron Big Band, Magical Theatre, Confucius Institute, Yiddishe Cup and UA Steel Drum Band also returned to entertain guests of all ages.
Each year, First Night Akron conducts a survey to collect feedback from the audience to use for planning future events. With much of last year’s input implemented this year, survey information is valued and taken into consideration. The survey, along with other info, is available at firstnightakron.org. For every 300 respondents, a randomly chosen winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to a downtown business of his/her choice.
First Night Akron is a program of Downtown Akron Partnership. Founding partners are the city of Akron and the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com.