December 29, 2012


New Year’s celebration makes return

CelebrationJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Revelers watch as the minute hand of the clock tower approaches midnight during the 2011 New Year’s celebration.

Staff Reporter

The Cortland Downtown Partnership is bringing back Cortland County’s First Light celebration, which will ring in the New Year on Monday.
After a spotty history, including the celebration being canceled last year, the Downtown Partnership has taken over the event planning, which included a lot of fundraising from local businesses, said Adam Megivern, Cortland Downtown Partnership executive director.
“We didn’t have one last year, but we brought it back this year and I truly feel that this is something we can build on,” Megivern said. “We spent a lot of time planning this out. It’s definitely not some event that was just thrown together.
Though it is located in the city, the event is a countywide celebration, he said.
It is unclear why last year’s celebration was shelved, but Megivern said part of the reason was a lack of fundraising, which is why, he says, the CDP stepped in and organized it this year.
In the past, the event was titled First Night, but the state of Massachusetts has a trademark on the name. If Cortland wanted to keep the name, it would have to pay a fee that Megivern said was not worth the expense.
He was unable to recall the exact amount, saying: “We just decided on a different name. Problem solved.”
The event is free and open to all ages. It is happening on Main Street, with a lighted ball being dropped at midnight from the clock tower building at the intersection of Main and Tompkins streets.
The evening begins at 9 p.m., when vendors open, providing food and other “fun stuff,” Megivern said.
From 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. a disc jockey will spin tunes for attendees to dance.
“If this can be successful, we can build upon this in future years,” Megivern said. “I want to make this clear that this event is not for economic development, but rather a community driven event that is aimed at bringing the entire county together for one night of fun.”
From 11:30 p.m. to midnight, a large-screen projector television will broadcast “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”
Time Warner Cable is providing the equipment for the live feed, while the television is the same one used when the city shows movies during the summer in public parks. It is a two-story FunFlicks inflatable screen.
The countdown will be in sync with the one from New York. The audio will come from New York, but Megivern said that in future years, as the Downtown Partnership becomes more acclimated to putting on this event, he would like to see the event have its own countdown.
There will also be a fireworks display right after the dropping of the ball.
A portion of the proceeds of food and other things sold will go toward other Downtown Partnership events in the future, with an emphasis on First Light.
Megivern added that in the future, an idea that is floating around is to have a video recap of the year in Cortland County playing on a big screen.
“We would like to reach all demographics, and we’re incredibly fortunate to have so much support from this local community,” Megivern said. “This event is serving the needs and wants of the county.”
Coffee Mania, Crown City Guns and Ammo, College Suites, Time Warner Cable, Royal Auto Group, Cortland County Community Service Club and Cortland County Restaurant and Bar Association are the event sponsors.


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