Sandwich thinks big for First Night
SANDWICH — Melinda Gallant was running around checking her punch list, getting ready to ring in the new year.
Rob Vinciguerra was still rallying volunteers to carry puppets during a revelers parade that’s planned from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday.
And Michael Magyar was busy crafting his latest giant, a 20-foot-tall lighthouse filled with sea creatures to celebrate the big night.
“It’s a huge event,” said Paula Johnson, executive director of Sandwich Community Television, who along with Gallant and Neila Neary is organizing First Night Sandwich — a family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration of the arts to help kick off 2013.
Festivities will include performing arts at various locations in Sandwich’s historical village from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday; the revelers parade, with giant puppets and jugglers replacing floats and marching bands, and a lion’s head created by Vinciguerra in the tradition of a Chinese New Year dragon; and an “explosive” lighting of Magyar’s giant lighthouse near the Dexter Gristmill.
“We were just brainstorming some things one day over at Momo’s,” Magyar recalled of how the lighthouse concept came about at Neary’s Route 6A shop.
“We had these ideas of having a ball drop and splash into the pond. We bounced around a lot of ideas. She has a lot of these cards with sea creatures on them. … We said, ‘Let’s make a lighthouse,’ and it went from there — first town, first night, first light.”
First Night by the numbers
$22,000: The overall budget for the First Night Sandwich celebration, which includes paying each of the performers and artists a stipend, said event co-organizer Paula Johnson, executive director of Sandwich Community Television.
400: Buttons sold as of Wednesday afternoon, though Johnson said sales were starting to pick up. “We think there’s going to be an onslaught Sunday and Monday,” she said Wednesday. “I was just up at the Cape Cod 5 and people were coming in like mad. Now that Christmas is over, people shift their focus.”
2,500: The number of buttons available for First Night. Those buttons get you into performances by the likes of the Michael Dunford All Star Jazz Band at Sandwich Glass Museum or the Hoola Hoopers at Sandwich Town Hall. At some businesses in town, you also get a discount if you wear your button into the shop.
14: Locations where you can purchase buttons – $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-12 – including Café Chew, Dan’l Webster Inn, and Momo’s Food Emporium. For a complete list, see www.firstnightsandwich.com.
32: Artists and musicians performing at 15 venues from Sandwich Town Hall to the Masonic Hall.
10: Sea creatures on Magyar’s lighthouse, from a whale at the base to a starfish just before the lighthouse beacon donated by Sandwich Lantern. Other creatures include a dolphin, cod, sea turtle, scallop, tuna, lobster, jellyfish and, with a nod toward Cape Cod’s other First Night celebration in Chatham, a shark.
13: Committee members who organized the dozens of other volunteers to create Monday’s celebration.
130: Lanterns that will float in Shawme Pond.
10: Ice sculptures in various locations throughout the village center, including one by a wood carver working with ice for the first time, co-organizer Rob Vinciguerra said.
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First Night Sandwich 2013 will be held on New Year’s Eve December 31, 2012, from 4 – 9 pm.
The celebration is the coming together of residents, visitors, artists and businesses for a fun, diverse and safe New Year’s Eve. Highlights include a non-alcoholic Family Festival of multi-cultural activities with mask making workshops, puppeteers, storytellers, face painting, magicians and more; a vibrant Mardi Gras like procession down Main Street with costumed revelers and spectators will start at 6 pm, and a Grand Finale Countdown extravaganza at the conclusion of the evening’s festivities. READ MORE…
Sandwich, Mass.: With a Mardi Gras-type procession down Main Street, and a family festival of multicultural activities with storytellers, face painting, ice sculptures, magicians and mask-making workshops, First Night Sandwich looks to provide a fun, diverse and safe New Year’s Eve. Throughout the village area, Cape Cod artists display their work, while performers engage audiences across downtown Sandwich. The event runs from 4 to 9 p.m., leaving plenty of time for an early night at home or to attend other commitments.
First Night Sandwich 2013 Has Been Awarded an Arts Foundation Grant
Sandwich, Cape Cod – The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod has awarded First Night Sandwich $1000 grant in support of its project. According to the foundation the selection process was highly competitive, with 53 applicants requesting almost $122,000 during the grant cycle. The committee awarded grants to 25 organizations totaling $25,000. First Night Sandwich 2013 was founded by Neila Neary and Melinda Gallant, both of Sandwich. It is sponsored by both the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce and Sandwich Television. First Night is a non-alcoholic family event with activities for visitors and residents of Cape Cod, that will be held on December 31, 2012. Programs will be performed in both inside and outdoor venues in the Sandwich Village area. The event includes a mask making workshop, musical performances, jugglers and mime a Resolution Wall, Mardi grass styled parade and grand finale. Buttons can be purchased on the website: http://firstnightsandwich.com and in and around town for the indoor events.
Cape Cod Times 07/27/12–
Neila Neary and Melinda Gallant are stepping up, once again, to do something special for the Upper Cape. The duo are planning First Night Sandwich, a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration.
Chatham puts on a great First Night party, as does Boston. But neither is particularly convenient for Upper Capers, so Neary and Gallant want to fill the gap. They have plenty of experience organizing New Year’s celebrations; with the help of radio personality Dick Golden and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, Neary and Gallant launched First Night Cape Cod in the 1990s, with events in Falmouth, Hyannis, Orleans and
Provincetown. The event eventually faded, while Chatham First Night continued; now Sandwich will have its turn.
“Sandwich is a town with a lot of cultural roots, and we want to showcase that,” Gallant told the Times.
We wish them the best of luck in this worthy endeavor.
SANDWICH — Coming off a 16-year hiatus, two local women who organized First Night Cape Cod in the 1990s are planning a New Year’s celebration for the town of Sandwich.
Neila Neary and Melinda Gallant said they realized in February that there wasn’t a First Night celebration convenient to the Upper Cape; the only ones nearby are in Boston and Chatham.
They wanted to change that.
The women have applied to the Boston-based national headquarters, First Night USA, to hold an official First Night Sandwich. Because Sandwich is less than 50 miles from Chatham, headquarters made sure First Night Chatham was OK with the other celebration, said Geri Guardino, First Night USA executive director.
Susan West, Chatham First Night publicist, said the committee was happy to hear of Sandwich’s developing plans.
“The feeling was that Chatham and Sandwich are really in two different areas, and that there is probably enough room for everyone,” West said. “It will create a synergy that will be good for all the communities.”
After Chatham “gave their blessing” for Sandwich’s celebration, the women began working with headquarters on budgeting and vision, Guardino said.
Guardino said she felt confident in the pair’s ability.
“We’ve been having lots of conversations. I’m sure they’ll be able to do it,” Guardino said.
And if anyone is able to “do it,” it would probably be them, she said.
Neary and Gallant, with the help of radio personality Dick Golden, helped create First Night Cape Cod in the 1990s. With the help of the Cape Cod Arts Foundation, they organized celebrations in Falmouth, Hyannis, Orleans and Provincetown from 1991 to 1994.
After years of leadership, they hoped to pass the torch to the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, the regional nonprofit arts agency. But the foundation couldn’t take on the project and only Chatham First Night, which had been independently organized by local residents in 1991, continued.
“It’s a lot of work, especially in four towns, and a lot of accountability,” said Gallant, who lives in Sandwich. “The Arts Foundation was going to take it on, but it was a bit much.”
But after more than a decade, the pair feel up to the challenge again, said Neary, the owner of Momo’s Food Emporium in Sandwich.
They have teamed up with the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce and Sandwich Community Television, and plans to ring in 2013 are well under way, Gallant said.
The women hope to make First Night Sandwich “family-friendly,” hosting numerous fine arts events around town from 4 to 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve, allowing people to celebrate at midnight as they choose.
Around $15,000 is needed for the event, most of which will be raised by button sales, Gallant said. The buttons, which will give people access to all events, will cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Gallant said she and Neary hope to find the “one thing” that will make First Night Sandwich its own special event.
“Chatham does really wonderful things; it’s very iconoclastic,” she said.
“Sandwich is a town with a lot of cultural roots, and we want to showcase that.”