First Night and other celebrations to ring in new year

Cold weather prompted a few alterations

PORT TOWNSEND — First Night festivities this New Year’s Eve have been modified amid the cold snap, but the downtown Port Townsend event will still be a celebration of art and light.

That’s the message from Megan Claflin of The Production Alliance, which is orchestrating Friday’s event.

Pope Marine Park’s plaza, at Water and Madison streets, “will be decorated with a full lighting display. And we’ll have outdoor heaters spread throughout the space,” Claflin said Wednesday afternoon.

First Night is an indoor-outdoor party — free with donations welcome — on Water Street between Madison and Monroe streets. That block will be closed to motor traffic during the activities from 3 p.m. till 8 p.m.

Masks will be required indoors and out, Claflin noted.

The Jefferson Museum of Art & History, 540 Madison St., will host a scavenger hunt and new year’s resolution-in-a-bottle activity from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., while the Cotton Building, 607 Water St., will have Keeth Apgar of the Harmonica Pocket performing his original music from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Then from 4 p.m. to about 6 p.m. in that same space, people can decorate lanterns for the 6:30 p.m. lantern parade with the Unexpected Brass Band.

Free Toshikoshi Soba soup will be served outside on the Pope Marine plaza starting at 4:30 p.m.; then come jugglers and fire dancers on the plaza at 7 p.m.

The First Night fireworks display, just a few minutes of pyrotechnics, follows at 8 p.m. — but the traditional anchor raising won’t happen this year.

Instead, the 6-foot anchor will be on display for photos with First Night revelers.

“The raising requires the trailering and setup of a scissor lift, and we are trying to minimize potential hazards for our crew and volunteers,” Claflin said.

Local New Year’s Eve celebrations also include:

• A dance party at the Palindrome at Eaglemount Winery, 1893 S. Jacob Miller Road, Port Townsend, from 9 p.m. till midnight. Admission is a suggested donation of $10 to $20; the band features Matt Sircely, Phina Pipia, Jack Dwyer and George Radebaugh.

Windows and doors will be ajar for ventilation, so party-goers should dress accordingly — and there will be a campfire behind the Palindrome and a wrap-around deck for those who prefer to be outdoors, Sircely noted.

Masks will be required for everybody on the indoor dance floor. Wine, cider, mead, soft drinks and snacks will be available, and while no outside alcohol is permitted, takeout suppers and personal picnics are “perfectly fine,” he said.

• The all-ages Sparkle Dance Party at Finnriver Farm & Cidery, 124 Center Road, Chimacum, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. DJ Pixel, aka Sarah Peller, will play a variety of dance music; cover charge is $5 and sequined attire is encouraged.

This event includes the lighting of the giant North Olympic Salmon Coalition sculpture, “Fin,” at 8:30 p.m.

• The Fishes & Wishes celebration at Finnriver, which includes a salmon dinner. Seatings will be at 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with information and reservations at www.finnriver.com under Calendars and Finnriver Farm Events.

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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