First Night® is a family-oriented, non-alcoholic celebration of the arts held on New Year’s Eve on the streets of downtown Carlisle. It is a major visual and performing arts festivity created by and for the community to welcome in the New Year. It is a public celebration that revives the ancient tradition of marking the passage of time with art, ritual, and festivity in a present day context.


First Night’s® mission is to broaden and deepen the public’s appreciation of the visual and performing arts through an innovative, diverse, and high-quality New Year’s Eve program which offers the community a shared cultural experience that is accessible and affordable to all.


The First Night® celebration draws singles, couples, and families of all ages and ethnicities from the local communities.


The celebration will take place in both indoor and outdoor locations throughout the center of Carlisle. Indoor sites, such as churches, public buildings, theaters, libraries, community and cultural buildings, along with streets, storefront windows, sidewalks, and civic plazas, become venues for all varieties of the visual, performing and literary arts. The cultural animation of the city sets the stage for innovation and public interaction.


Simultaneous and continuous performances of dance, music, mime, storytelling, theater, and multicultural programs. Unexpected places are transformed through an explosion of creative energy. A countdown to midnight and a spectacular fireworks finale conclude the community festivity.


At First Night®, everyone is a participant. Audience members decide their individualized schedules from the complete program. In addition, through hands-on workshops, participants are encouraged to create masks, hats, and/or display painted faces and fantastic costumes. The lines between the observer and the observed are deliberately blurred.


A First Night® button supports the cost of the celebration and provides general admission to all events. Admission to indoor events is on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost of the buttons will be minimal to encourage entire families to participate.