Prepare ahead for Northampton’s First Night celebration

The Northampton Center for the Arts has been working to develop safety plans

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Northampton is using this last week of 2016 to prepare for another First Night celebration. The best thing to do is start planning your evening now, that’s what the event committee, police, and firefighters have been doing for months.

While the Christmas elves rest after another successful season, Penny Burke is hard at work preparing the final touches for Northampton’s 32nd First Night celebration. Burke, who is the Executive Director of the Northampton Center for the Arts, told 22News,”Most important things happen within 24 hours of the beginning of the event, but that’s the way it goes.”

It’s a city tradition put on by the Northampton Center for the Arts, offering entertainment at 20 venues, fireworks, and a grand gathering around Hotel Northampton to watch the glittering ball rise at midnight. The city is expecting about 10,000 people to be coming to the downtown area, flooding so many of the streets.

Even though the Northampton police department couldn’t specify what their security plans are for that night, they want to reassure everyone that First Night will also be a safe night. Police will have extra OUI patrols looking for drunk drivers, while firefighters will supervise the fireworks release from the top of the municipal parking garage.

“We do also have 150 volunteers in different places so everybody’s got an eye out for everybody else,” said Burke.

You still have time to buy your First Night buttons for access to all of the events. Mayor David Narkewicz has made all municipal and street parking free that night, except the garage.

Click here for a list of events, and a list of locations you can pick up and buy your First Night event access buttons.