December 29, 2011 in Features

Don’t be afraid to ring in 2012 with 30,000 close friends

By The Spokesman-Review
If you go

First Night

When, where: Saturday. Kids

Night Out begins at 3 p.m. at the Spokane Convention Center. First Night performance venues open at 7 p.m. throughout downtown Spokane.

First Day: Sunday

Cost: $12 admission buttons through Friday; $15 on Saturday. Children 10 and younger free with button-wearing adults.

Schedules, maps, etc: Go to or call (509) 456-0580, ext. 6.

Beethoven’s Ninth

 The Spokane Symphony and Chorale once again will usher in the new year with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, considered his greatest work.

 “This is the music that really changed music history,” said conductor Eckart Preu in a 2009 interview. “It is the Himalayas of music.”

 The concert on New Year’s Eve will only last an hour. But what an hour.

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox. 1001 W. Sprague Ave.

Featuring: Conductor Eckart Preu, the Spokane Symphony Chorale, soprano Heather Parker, mezzo Molly McLaughlin, tenor Christopher Pfund and Todd Robinson, bass.

Tickets: Adults, $22 to $27; children, $16. Purchase at the box office at Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, 1001 W. Sprague Ave. Call: (509) 624-1200 or TicketsWest outlets, (800) 325-SEAT,

First Night, a party in downtown Spokane on New Year’s Eve, can be intimidating for a first-timer.

How do you choose among 150 performances in more than 40 venues? How do you find your way through crowds numbering 30,000 or more?

Chris Martin, First Night executive director, and Lona Barnum, associate director, said it’s easier than it looks.

First, about the parking. They recommend you park free at the Riverpoint Campus, 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., and hop on the free shuttle that circulates through downtown and back to Riverpoint every 10 minutes. You can hop off and on at performances and other venues.

They also asked First Night “veterans” to share their planned schedules for the evening. You’ll see those below.

First Night organizers are excited about several innovations for this year’s First Night, celebrating its 11th year.

• The theme: “Dawn of Time: Year of the Dinosaur.”

At 11:50, there will be a countdown to the “raising of the dinosaur egg” in Riverfront Park. The giant aluminum egg symbolizes the new year.

This new midnight tradition won’t take away from the Midnight Fireworks Spectacular, sponsored by the Spokane Tribe. They’ll be a blast, too.

• The Dinosaur Egg Safari, a treasure hunt throughout downtown Spokane, will keep people moving through the crowds in a unique way, looking for clues in four locations. Participants will get the chance to win prizes.

• Cabaret for the adults. At Spokane Masonic Center, adults 18 and older can enjoy burlesque, cabaret and exotic belly dancing.

The majority of the musical and dance performers are new this year to First Night, too, but many popular attractions will return.

Kids Night Out at the Spokane Convention Center, sponsored by Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, goes from 3 to 6 p.m.

The Masquerade Parade, from the Spokane Convention Center to Riverfront Park, begins at 6:10 p.m.

Walkers and runners of all ages can get warmed up in the 5K Resolution Run, which begins at 6:30 p.m. near the Rotary Fountain in Riverfront Park.

And First Day Spokane is back, too. Return Sunday with your First Night button for free admission to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and discounts at Riverfront Park.

Still a bit intimidated? Maybe the plans of these veteran First Nighters will calm first-time jitters.

The Montilla Family plan

Parents Scott and Shelli Montilla, with daughters Emma, 9, and Elisa, 6.

3 p.m.: Park at Riverpoint Campus. Take free shuttle to Kids Night Out at the Convention Center

3:15-3:45: Kid’s crafts

3:45-4: Jarom Watts’ Bubble Show

4-4:15: Stomping with the Dinosaurs

4:15-5: More kid’s crafts

5-5:30: Rene Bibaud, jump rope artist

5:30-5:50: Sit down and relax

6-6:20: Masquerade Parade

6:30-7:30: Dinner at Azteca Restaurant

7:30: Catch shuttle to Mobius Kids in River Park Square

7:30-8: Magic show at Mobius Kids

8: Catch shuttle back to Convention Center

8:15-9: Masquerade Disco Dino Ball

9: Take shuttle back to car

The Scott and Karen Leinen Couple plan

4 p.m.: Throw on multiple layers of clothing and outerwear. Grab First Night buttons and schedule. We’re off!

4:30: Arrive downtown and park, head to Hill’s Restaurant for early dinner

5:45: Hit Thomas Hammer Coffee for lattes before heading to Spokane Falls Boulevard to catch the Masquerade Parade

6:30: Attend opening ceremony at Riverfront Park Rotary Fountain

7: View first showing of 48 Hour Film Festival at City Hall Council Chambers

8: Behold Abbey Crawford, burlesque and belly dancing, at Masonic Center auditorium

9: Laugh uncontrollably at The Comedy Show at Masonic Center ballroom

10: Journey back toward Convention Center. Warm up at the bonfire and possibly grab a snack at food vendor or coffee bar.

11: Be amazed by The Kalvans, the juggling-acrobatic couple, in Convention Center ballroom

11:45: Gaze upon Dinosaur Balloon Art in INB Performing Arts Center lobby

Midnight: Fireworks in Riverfront Park

12:15 a.m.: Meet up with friends for a celebratory cocktail at Rock City Grill at River Park Square. Happy New Year!

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email