Last updated: December 23. 2013 5:31PM - 1842 Views
ELIZABETH BAUMEISTER lbaumeister@theabingtonjournal.com

Fireworks during last year's First Night Scranton welcome 2013 with a boom.
Fireworks during last year's First Night Scranton welcome 2013 with a boom.
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When: New Year’s Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 31, beginning at 3 p.m. with bingo in the food court in The Mall at Steamtown. Entertainment begins at 6 p.m. with the grand finale at 12 midnight.

Admission: A $10 button includes access to every venue for every act. Children five and younger are free and seniors receive a $5 discount the night of the event with a valid photo ID.

Transportation & parking: One free handicapped accessible shuttle bus is available for the entire evening to and from key venues. Parking is available for free at the Mall at Steamtown and $5 at all Scranton Parking Authority garages.

Restrooms: Available in several First Night venues, including The Mall at Steamtown.

Food: Food and refreshments will be available from the Elm Park United Methodist Church, Northern Lights Espresso Bar and food trucks along Lackawanna Avenue.

More info: (570) 955-5380, www.firstnightscranton.com or on Facebook, search “First Night Scranton Association.”

Music Lineup:

The Gene Dempsey Orchestra will be center court in the Mall at Steamtown, playing Hollywood’s greatest theme songs.

Jay Steveskey will heat up the Northern Light Espresso Bar with his classical guitar and finger style arrangements of movie love themes from around the world.

Vince Brust will educate event-goers on the nuances of classic ballroom dancing, along with the graceful movements of Fred and Ginger in the center court at The Mall at Steamtown.

Krypton DJ’s will spin hits from Hollywood from the show mobile 9 p.m. - midnight, while event-goers await carriage rides or enjoy food from the vendors along Lackawanna Avenue.

Family & interactive lineup:

Bob Carroll and Friends, a nationally known comedian, magician and ventriloquist, will headline at Elm Park United Methodist Church at 7 p.m.

Rob Smith, considered the region’s premiere juggler, returns for his 15th performance at First Night Scranton with performances throughout the evening at the firehouse.

Damian the Magician will entertain with new mysteries and wonders, opening for Bob Carroll and Friends at Elm Park United Methodist Church at 7 p.m.

Cosmo and Connie will transform the area near the first floor elevator in The Mall at Steamtown into the Land of Oz, with craft balloons shaped like flying monkeys, Toto, poppies and witch hats.

Franko the Clown, with his interactive juggling skills, will stroll The Mall at Steamtown, looking to delight and amaze.

Mike Simon will provide spooky illusions and slight of hand tricks in the Horror Lab in the Ritz Theater.

Jo Jo the Clown will spread giggles and smiles as she paints faces downstairs at Elm Park United Methodist Church.

Brookvalley Farms will create magical moments like scenes from the movies with free horse drawn carriage rides around center city, departing from the main entrance at The Mall at Steamtown.

John O Connell Caricatures will draw event-goers caricatures similar to the famous ones in Sardis in New York, a favorite celebrity hangout.

Family Bingo kicks off the evening from the food court in The Mall at Steamtown at 3 p.m. and continues until the entertainment starts at 6 p.m.

Dragon Jedi presents “The Final Trial” will provide adventure, excitement and glory for “Star Wars” fans, through epic light saber battles against the dark side of “The Force” at the second level bridge inside The Mall at Steamtown.

Linda’s Face painting delivers glitter, smiles and delight upstairs near Boscov’s in The Mall at Steamtown.

Dianna the Fortune Teller will read all, see all and tell all with her crystal ball (for entertainment purposes only) in front of Bon Ton on the second floor at The Mall at Steamtown.

Classic horror movies, a Hollywood staple, will play in Dr. Frankenstein’s Horror Lab, located in the lobby of the Ritz Theater, for those who dare enter.

Wild West Entertainment brings back the glory days of the Lone Ranger and Tonto with a fast moving Wild West arts show, featuring trick roping, target bull whips, comedy, juggling and audience participation.

Hollywood Trivia Game with PA Live’s “Movie Guy” J.W. Colwell provides the opportunity for event-goers to test their knowledge and win prizes at the AFA Gallery.

Bring your camera and walk the red carpet in The Mall at Steamtown to have your picture taken with various Hollywood characters.

Spectacular Fireworks Display will close the night and welcome 2014 at midnight. The best viewing location is the corner of Lackawanna and Penn Avenues.

First Night Scranton organizers decided to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the event with a bang, outdoing themselves in every aspect, from the featured “Hollywood” theme, to the spectacular fireworks display at midnight.

“With ‘First Nights’ dropping all over the place because of funding,” said co-chairman Damian the Magician, “we thought we’d go big, go Hollywood.”

The New Year’s Eve event will begin Dec. 31 in the food court in The Mall at Steamtown with bingo from 3 - 6 p.m., then branching out to various locations around downtown Scranton, where musicians, comedians, magicians, face painters and a variety of other acts will entertain throughout the evening. The event will conclude with the grand finale fireworks display at midnight, best viewed from the corner of Lackawanna and Penn Avenues.

Committee member Larry Mohr said this year’s theme provides opportunity for an incredible variety of programs, keeping things new and different, which is one goal of the event. Joni Metzger, another committee member, agreed, saying this year’s theme covers everything from westerns to horror to science fiction and beyond.

Headlining the entertainment is nationally known comedy magician and ventriloquist Bob Carroll. Opening for him at 7 p.m. at Elm Park Church (upstairs) will be Dalton born, Scranton native Damian the Magician with a brand new Hollywood-themed act.

A Hollywood Trivia Game will be hosted by PA Live’s “Movie Guy,” J.W. Colwell in the AFA Gallery, where event-goers can test their movie knowledge and win prizes from local movie houses and related businesses.

Dr. Frankenstein’s Horror Lab will be set up in the lobby of the Ritz Theater, where classic horror movies will play throughout the night. Magician Mike Simon will be on hand to send chills through the audience with his spooky magic tricks and illusions.

The evening will include plenty to do for all ages, such as carriage rides, face painting, balloon animals, fortunetellers, caricatures and more, all of which is included with a $10 button, available the day of the event or in advance at The Mall at Steamtown, Boscov’s stores in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton and all Gerrity’s locations. Buttons will also be available for one day only at The Viewmont Mall on Saturday, Dec. 28. Senior citizens may purchase buttons for $5 the day of the event only with proper ID. Children five years of age and younger gain free admission.

Damian said the low admission price of the event is one of its greatest benefits to the community, along with its entertainment variety and family friendly alcohol free environment.

“A lot is to be said for a safe and controlled event,” Damian said, “on a night when that is a rare thing.”

And the fireworks, he said, are the “icing on the cake. The right way to close one year out and start another.”

Organizers all agreed that First Night Scranton, which is non-profit, exists only because of a group of dedicated volunteers. Damian the Magician and Doug Smith are co-chairmen of the event, and Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty is this year’s honorary chairman. Paige Balitski is the project manager and Sandra Opshinsky is the development and event planner. Also on the Executive Committee are Joni Metzger and Larry Mohr (also known as “Cosmo and Connie”), Joanne Jordan (also known as “Jo Jo the Clown”) and Alison Boga, who heads up the bingo event.

The association is always looking for more people to help out, especially the night of the event, and those interested can call the First Night office at (570) 955-5380 or Damian the Magician at (570) 344-1967 or visit the First Night Scranton Association Facebook page online.

“It’s very important for people to be involved in what goes on in their community,” said Damian, explaining there are many “good causes” in Scranton, First Night being one of them.

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