First Night is a community celebration of the coming of the New Year expressed through the arts. Started in Boston in 1976, First Night’s mission is to broaden and deepen the publics’ appreciation of the arts through an innovative, diverse, and high quality program. It offers the community a shared cultural experience and is accessible and affordable to all. Monterey, CA’s event started at 3:00 in the afternoon December 31st and lasted through a grand Finale at midnight. The center of town was open only to pedestrians and was filled with street vendors selling a wide variety of culinary delights, music venues, film, dance, and art exhibits. I only got to sample a small fraction of the possibilities, including the folk group Grumbling Ginger, African and Caribbean drumming from Ashe and the Global Rhythm Collective, and All American Rock with Mike Beck and the Bohemian Saints, but they were all fantastic. There was also an almost surrealistic parade right at dusk.
It was also a great night for photography! Here are some samples.