First Night Chatham to ‘Light Up the Town’

CHATHAM – The calendar turns to 2017 Sunday and First Night Chatham will ring in the New Year with entertainment and activities for all ages Saturday.

The theme of the 26th edition of First Night Chatham is “Light Up the Town,” and the event will feature several musical acts and activities for kids.

“It’s grown over the years from just being a small town mirror of what Boston was doing to thriving – even as Boston struggled,” said Ron Clark, the chairman of First Night Chatham.

Events kick off at noon with the town picture at the Chatham Light House and will several entertainers will be featured, including Chinese folk dancers, a bluegrass band, a barbershop quartet, a juggler, concert pianist and a magician.

“Our goal is to have an incredible variety,” Clark said. “Nobody could attend everything so it’s something for everybody.”

Several activities will be available for families and kids.

The Bubble Wrap Stomp has been extended to two hours this year and the Children’s Art Studio and face painting returns.

From 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. there will be two miniature golf courses. A nine-hole course will be set up at the Community Center Gym and the other will be in the gym of the middle school.

First Night will also include horse-drawn wagon rides and the Carnival Caper road race.

Children are also encouraged to bring noisemakers, flashlights and light sticks for the annual Noise Parade which begins at 6 p.m. at the corner of Cross Street and Main Street and ends at the Chatham Community Center.

The first of two fireworks displays will begin right after the parade.

The second display will get underway at midnight following the Countdown Cod.

“We have over 60 events and performances that go on throughout the day,” said John Reed, the head of publicity for the event.

First Night Chatham is completely run by volunteers, including about 50 that work year-round to organize events.

“We’ve got people that do a number of large jobs, but we’ve got lots of people that do small to medium pieces of it and it all comes together,” Clark said.

There are also over 200 additional volunteers who work on the day of the event.

“[They] help with meet and greet, check buttons at the door and a little bit of set up here and there – an hour, two hours, four hours, all day,” said Clark.

The scouting out of new talent and the hiring of entertainers is usually complete by the end of the summer each year and the majority of other planning for First Night goes on throughout the fall, according to Clark.

Admission buttons are $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 to 11 and can be purchased online through Thursday.

After Thursday, buttons can only be purchased at First Night Headquarters at 10 Bearses Byway.

Buttons are expected to sell out before First Night starts.

For more information and a complete schedule of events visit


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