First Night rings in 2014 in St. Louis

Posted on: 5:48 pm, December 31, 2013, by , updated on: 10:28pm, December 31, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – People at St. Louis’s biggest New Year’s Eve party said those who didn’t make it to FirstNight St. Louis in Midtown Tuesday night, had no idea what they were missing

43 years a St. Louisan, Laura Thomas was a FirstNight first-timer.  She was in a booth trying to grab onto blowing cash hidden among fake money.

She’s only $6 richer after sorting it all out, but said she regretted not coming to the event before this year, “It’s awesome.  They need to come.  Hopefully I’ll get my momma to come next year.”

Organizers expected 15,000-20,000 attendees to St. Louis’s 23rd FirstNight, an alcohol-free, family-friendly celebration.

It might have been the best yet, featuring live trampoline acts and a magic show on the outdoor stages, plus live music and performers of every stripe at the fabulous indoor Grand Center venues.

“Blues, rock n roll, jazz. There’s a lot of different music.  There are magicians.  There’s a hypnotist.  There are comedians, professional dancers,” said Travis Howser, FirstNight Director of Events.

Revelers had to buy FirstNight buttons, $12 for adults, $6 for kids, good for all of the indoor events.

All of the outdoor attractions were free, including the hottest show: the Extreme I.C.E. chainsaw, speed,  ice-carving.  It looked like a giant snow cone machine as sculptors turned massive blocks of ice into a Gateway Arch and other objects.

Sculptor Dan Rebholz of Chicago had to ring in 2014 in St. Louis – but said with this atmosphere and the cool, but dry weather – he wouldn’t have it any other way, “I always wanted to be an artist.  I ended up going to culinary school to be chef.  I saw a chef do an ice carving demonstration.  I was hooked.  I haven’t put the chain saw down since.”

“It’s my first time being here and it’s really cool,” said Brayden Conley, a youth who decided to come with his friend Oscar Kopp and Oscar’s dad.

Travis Howser explains, “First Night is a really a great opportunity to see this neighborhood. We’re right in the middle of the city and so we’ve got a whole variety of people that are right next to us. You have a whole bunch of neighborhoods, so our location is greatand we’ve got some amazing venues down here that are unique to a lot of cities.”

In years past, there’s also been an early fireworks show. Not this year. There is only one show, at midnight, and it’s billed as St. Louis’s best.

Midnight fireworks officially cap off the night and usher in 2014.

OTHER NEW YEAR’S ACTIVITIES

Some families are ringing in the New Year by making some noise at The Magic House.  The popular Kirkwood location hosted a noontime New Year celebration.  You could strike a pose in the photo booth, groove to some tunes and some people participated in a noon countdown.

If you are in Illinois, you may want to check out First Night River Bend at the Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey.  The family-friendly event runs until 7:00 pm and ends with fireworks.

This won’t necessarily keep youwarm, but the St. Charles Chill is inviting you to watch them play hockey, followed by a free skate with the team afterward.

There will also bea flat screen TV giveaway. The puck drops at 6:05pm in St. Charles, Missouri.