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Upton’s First Night, Something for Everyone

Upton is planning to ring in 2014 with style and organizers of the town's very first First Night are hoping residents from all over come out to enjoy the fun. First Night festivities will take place throughout town on New Year's Eve beginning at 5 p.m. and lasting until midnight.

Promoting local artist's talent, the theme of the evening is "Bringing Community Together Through the Love of Arts." And that's just what First Night Organizer Sharon Bliss, and her committee, are hoping attendees experience and enjoy. "We're very excited about this," she said. "People from around here have some great talent."

Bliss had the idea for First Night from her pastor Reverend Jan Gregory-Charpentier of United Parish. "She had wanted to do a community event for years and years and she loves the arts," said Bliss. After receiving a grant from the Cultural Council to sponsor some type of community event, Bliss began to start the planning process, which eventually evolved into Upton's First Night. "I don't do things little," laughed Bliss, who added First Night is not a United Parish event. "We're just the host."

What's so wonderful about the festivities scheduled is that there are activities for all ages to enjoy. Early evening events for little ones include touch a truck, a snowman-building contest, face painting, and crafting. In addition, a live clay creation demonstration, a puppet show, and live music will all be taking place. As the evening goes on, a vaudeville show, dance performances, and other musical acts will perform. Many of the activities scheduled are located at businesses around the Route 140 Common, the VFW, the Library, and Memorial School. A Rockin New Year's Dance with live music as well as a hypnotist comedy show will be held at Nipmuc Regional High School. Getaway trips will also be raffled off.

Throughout the evening, a shuttle will be looping around town to pick up and drop off residents at various First Night locations. As a result, families can park their cars at Nipmuc, Blackstone Valley Tech, the VFW, and side streets and then utilize the shuttle during the evening. Parking on Route 140 is not encouraged.

Anyone wanting to take part in the First Night activities must purchase a button. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children in the 5th grade and younger. "Instead of traveling into Boston, people can enjoy our First Night for only $10," said Bliss. It's best to pre-purchase buttons before December 23 as prices increase $5 after that. A number of locations in town are now selling buttons including United Parish, A Little Common Sense, Shear Excitement, V Organic Café, The Rose Garden, Nipmuc Regional High School, and BVT. For a $5 mailing fee, people can also order buttons by mail or online.

Bliss said she is still looking for volunteers who might be willing to man a station for an hour or two saying, "Volunteers get in free for the night."

More detailed information on the festivities can be found at www.firstnightupton.org. For questions, email firstnightupton2014@gmail.com or call 774-287-7388 or 508-529-3192.




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