Fireworks exploded across the sky and streets were filled with people. This flurry of activity is all part of First Night in Northampton.
"Everybody is out having a good time. There's a lot of conviviality," said John Meehan of Northampton.
For 28 years, Northampton Center for the Arts has been organizing First Night in the city. However, after Monday night, the center will be turning over the responsibility to someone else.
"It's gotten to be such a huge event that it's very difficult for our small organization to manage it," said Penny Burke, the executive director of the Northampton Center for the Arts.
In 2011, the First Night turnout was so big that Burke said they saw an all-time high number of people attending. Ultimately, $90,000 worth of first night buttons were sold.
Every year, Burke said it takes a lot of planning for her and less than a dozen of her staff to make these event-goers happy.
"We probably start putting together major sponsorships in March of the year, and then the work begins, in earnest, in May," Burke said.
Now that the Center for the Art's job will now be open for the taking on midnight Monday, many people attending this year's First Night events are hopeful that someone will step forward so the city's special New Year's traditions can continue.
"I hope that this will continue ... there are some questions whether it will continue next year. I don't know what's needed in order for it to continue next year, but we hope it certainly does," said Patricia Deblase of Northampton.
"They've done a great job on that, and we can only hope whoever comes in is up to the task," Meehan said.
Burke also said that after the first of the year, Mayor David Narkewicz will be having a meeting to see which groups are interested in planning First Night for next year.
Copyright 2012 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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