“The inaugural First Night Vienna was, by any and all measure, a huge success.”
-- First Night Vienna chair, Michael Amouri, owner of Caffe Amouri
Between 3,500 and 4,000 local families and friends celebrated the last night of 2013 at the First Night Vienna block-party presented by the Vienna Business Association [VBA] and the Town of Vienna.
Church Street closed down for five hours between Mill and Center streets as families strolled the road, stopping at fire pits to roast marshmallows, sample free hot chocolate and popcorn, and listen to the music presented at four venues. The kids’ tent, providing family-focused music and entertainment, offered face-painting, party hats and glow-sticks. Even on a cold night, the moonbounce had lines.
At 9 p.m., the kids there welcomed the New Year … then, the party shifted to teens and adults, all alcohol-free.
“The inaugural First Night Vienna was, by any and all measure, a huge success,” said First Night Vienna chair, Michael Amouri, owner of Caffe Amouri. “In the First Night Committee planning and with the VBA, we estimated that we would have about 2,000 folks attend - we hoped … Everyone seemed to have a great time with the mix of indoor and outdoor venues, food trucks, fire pits, etc. ... It was a tremendous evening,” Amouri said.
Even prior to the official kick-off at 7 p.m., crowds had already began filling the main tent next to the caboose. Luminaria lined Church Street, and the caboose, dressed in seasonal greenery, stood sentry at the W & OD trail. In addition to the live entertainment in the main tent in the caboose parking lots, three other venues presented live music for listening and dancing - Caffe Amouri, the original chapel of the Vienna Presbyterian Church and the Masonic Concorde lodge. Throughout the evening, grown-ups waited at food trucks for their orders.
“It’s wonderful they’re doing something like this for New Year’s Eve,” said Vienna mom, Andrea Geer, in the main tent with her husband and two young children. “I especially like the first part, for kids, with the kids’ entertainment and moonbounce.
“It’s a beautiful night; I’m glad the town did this.”
At midnight, Mayor M. Jane Seeman counted down to the New Year. The pre-recorded audio clip of a train approaching, with a loud train whistle at midnight, malfunctioned. Mayor Seeman, Amouri said, improvised and “performed her duties flawlessly.”
VBA will get together before the end of January for what Amouri called a “post-mortem” of the event.
“Are there areas we can improve upon?” Amouri asked. “You bet. Are we happy with the way it went for our first time out of the chute? You bet again.”
“Next year, we hope to add a venue or two, perhaps another food truck, maybe a bigger tent,” said Amouri. “We will definitely be seeking to make it a better event for our town.
“The Town deserves a top notch New Year’s Eve celebration. We feel like we gave them one this year and will work hard to make it better and better.
“Wonder if Bruce Springsteen is busy next December 31…”
— Donna Manz