Usher In The New Year At First Night Westport/Weston

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Face painting is just one of many activities children can enjoy at First Night Westport/Weston, the town's annual New Year's Eve celebration. Photo Credit: First Night Westport/Weston

WESTPORT, Conn. — People of all ages can end 2013 with a bang in downtown Westport during the First Night Westport/Weston New Year’s Eve celebration, a now 20-year tradition.

This year’s family-friendly event will include a fireworks show, a ventriloquist, live music, a strolling Mary Poppins and a variety of kids activities.

“We have something for everyone,” said Barbara Pearson-Rac, president of the First Night board of directors. “We’re bringing back some old favorites and also trying some new things out.”

Among the new additions is ventriloquist Jonathan Geffner and his gang of puppets. Geffner, who was the ventriloquist consultant for the 2013 movie “Admission” with Tina Fey, will perform his show “Puppet Power!” at the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium. The 45-minute show, appropriate for kids and adults, will be performed at 4:30 and again at 5:30 p.m.

“He is really funny,” Pearson-Rac said of Geffner. “I encourage everyone to go see him.”

Saugatuck Elementary School, a new venue this year, will serve as a central hub for entertainment. There, kids can bounce around in an inflatable park in the gymnasium, get their faces painted, enjoy a bite to eat in the cafeteria and meet Mary Poppins.

There will also be musical performances by The Federation, an electric rock band; Washboard Slim & the Blue Lights, which performs jug band music; and For The Heart, an all-teen ensemble.

A free shuttle bus will travel to and from Jesup Green and Saugatuck Elementary School throughout the night, Pearson-Rac said.

Over at Town Hall, revelers can enjoy two new additions to the musical lineup. Tim Currie and his Motown band will heat things up from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. Bach To Broadway will take the stage from 8 to 9:45 p.m.

The night’s festivities will also include favorites such as horse-drawn carriage rides, Dennis the Train Man, musical performances by Chris Coogan, palm readers and caricature artists.

After a year’s hiatus, fireworks will once again light the sky, Pearson-Rac said.

“We weren’t permitted to use the Levitt Pavilion last year for fireworks due to the pending construction, so we decided to try a laser show,” she said. “It was an experiment, but wasn’t for us.”

As the Levitt Pavilion is currently under construction, the fireworks will be set off from the nearby Imperial Avenue parking lot, which will be closed.

First Night festivities will begin at 4 p.m. and will end at 10 p.m. with the fireworks show. Admission buttons are $15 and can be purchased online or in person at First Night venues.

For more information, including a full schedule of events, visit the First Night website.

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