First Night Chatham
2008 Creative Programming Winner

Arts! Pageantry! Whimsey! Chatham's First Night, the only First Night celebration on the Cape, is an outdoor artistic and cultural celebration and like everything else about my hometown it is a fortunate combination of past and present: traditional and picturesque, yet contemporary and inventive.

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Starting in the afternoon and continuing until after midnight the entire event is a family-oriented, non-alcoholic celebration of the Arts, offering something for everyone. Song, dance, drama, comedy, music, storytelling, puppets, magic, hayrides, refreshments, ice carving, a puppet band, a bubble wrap stomp, Kids Karaoke, and much more. Celebrate Chatham's Fishing Heritage is this year's theme!

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This year's First Night button, used as a ticket for admission to the various events, was designed by Marie Williams, founder of First Night Chatham and features Marguerite Falconer's (a long-time resident of Chatham) famous painting, Chatham Fish Pier, the original of which is in a private collection. Mrs. Falconer's paintings are hung in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, The America Museum of Art at the Smithsonian Institute, the Cape Museum of Fine Arts and the world-famous Salmagundi Club.

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Things kick off with the Town Photo. It is a tradition that all who show up at the Chatham Lighthouse at Noon on New Year's Eve will be get into the picture. It's also one of the few times during the year that you can tour the lighthouse. You'll love the view from the top!

Notable Events Include:

The Carnival Caper Road Race -- a costumed road race sponsored by the Chatham Squire. T-shirts and beef stew served at the Squire after the race!

Send your troubles up in smoke. In the window of First Night Headquarters hangs Gloomalot with his Gloombox, Come and stuff the box with symbols of your woes of 2009 - stuff like bounced checks, pink slips, worthless stock certificates, bad report cards, or anything else that plagued you this year. You have to wait until dusk to find out what happens to them.

Open House at the Fish Pier! Learn interesting facts about our fishing industry from Pier Hosts, retired fishermen. With a little luck, the you'll find be boats unloading so you can watch up close! "People think Chatham is just a touristy place, but the fishing industry is one of the largest on the Cape."

Cape Cod Model Railroad Display -- The Cape Cod Model Railroad Club sets up a huge HO Gauge display. This light tower is one of our favorite things in the display.

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Wood Carving With A Chain Saw; Horse and Wagon Rides on Main Street and Ice Sculpting are all part of the day's activities.

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Be sure not to miss amazing yo-yo tricks of John Higby, one of the Yo-Yo People -- an award winning Guinness Book of Records holder. Click on the video below to watch John in action.

The Noise Parade kicks off the evening's events. Led by Chatham's Fishing Families, all decked out in their colorful gear! It's a great family event. Hundreds, if not thousands, of families and lots of children bang pots and pans and blow noisemakers, making all the noise they can. Remember Gloomalot? It will be swimming in the Noise Parade. The parade ends at Oyster Pond Beach with a bonfire. You can celebrate as the Gloombox goes up in flames in the bonfire, "flame-boyantly" sending your troubles up in smoke!

There is music - of all kinds -- Pipes and Drums, Bluegrass, "Irish Music to Warm Your Soul," Opera, Rock N Roll, Pop, Renaissance Music performed on period instruments, Caribbean music with a genuine steel band; Classical Guitar; Dixieland, Jazz - you name it we have it!

Rod Stewart Impressionist, Rick Larrimore, is back by popular demand. Click below to watch him in action.

Our own Monomoy Theatre presents A Midwinter Night's Dream -- "an entertainment about life, love and other trivialities" performed by some famous Chatham residents.

There is dancing by the Tides Dance Company and to the Dreamers Big Band; there is even belly dancing which you can try too; and a magic show.

Cirque du Jour performs death defying feats. Click below to watch First Night Motorcycle Madness.

In addition to area restaurants and churches, First Night Chatham has 12 different food vendors around town offering everything from hot dogs and chowder to pulled pork sandwiches and mac and cheese so you don't have to slow down or miss any of the fun.

Countdown Cod and Fireworks. Chatham's answer to Times Square at New Year's Eve is Countdown Cod©. The cod is hoisted 60 feet above the Oyster Pond parking lot on a crane at about 11:45 pm. Five minutes later, the cod is illuminated by 20 halogen lights planted in its body. At precisely 11:59 pm, Countdown Cod© is lowered to the ground at the speed of one foot per second.

Image thanks to First Night

When the cod completes its descent at midnight, the fireworks display begins over Oyster Pond to welcome in the New Year. You don't want to miss it!

To learn more about what Chatham has to offer, click on one of the links below

Vote for Your Favorite Chatham Beach Here or Learn More About Chatham's Great Beaches

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