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First Night State College

First Night State College

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First Night State College will take place in downtown State College, Pennsylvania and on the adjacent University Park campus of The Pennsylvania State University on December 31.


View video of previous Firstnight.


Below, you will find a list of events happening during First Night State College. If you have an event you would like to add feel free to contact us. You can also check out and add events to our Community Calendar throughout the year for Free!.


While outdoor events are free, a 2014 First Night State College button provides general admission to all indoor performances and provides essential funding for outdoor programming, too. Wearing a First Night State College button is a great way to show that you support this great home-grown event. At $10 each, it's the best deal in town. (see official site for details)


(B) requires button.

Schedule of Events, Tuesday, December 31, 2013 

Giant Ice Sculptures
10 a.m. - midnight; South Allen Street and Sidney Friedman Park

First Night® State College Ice Sculptors in Action
10:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.; South Allen Street
Celebrating their 18th year, The First Night State College Ice Sculptors will carve over 100  blocks—that’s more than 10 tons!--of crystal clear Pennsylvania ice for this year’s First Night. Under the direction of captain Ernie DiMartino, the Ice Sculptors are expected to include Ernie DiMartino, Richard Alford, Robert Higareda, Gary Glenn, Jared McAlister, Joe DiMartino, and Ryan Crosby.  The large walls and sculptures are created from blocks that are produced in a special Clinebell freezing process that makes beautifully clear ice. FNSC uses ice blocks manufactured by DiMartino Ice and Strickler Ice Company of Huntingdon.

Resolution Exhibits
Noon - Midnight; Sidney Friedman Park, South Allen Street and State College Municipal Building

Academy of Sacred Music  (B)
6:30 p.m.; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

Julie Hanlon, soprano, James White, bass-baritone, and Asa Carns, pianist, join their considerable talents to present a variety of seasonal and sacred selections, and more. All three Central Pennsylvania musicians collaborate regularly through the Academy of Sacred Music. The Academy promotes sharing, scholarship, consultation and skill development in the field of sacred music through ongoing formation of musicians from all religious traditions.

Air Dynamics! (B)
8:30 p.m.; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

Air Dynamics!, State College’s, first professional flute ensemble performs works for flute duo, trio, and flute quartet, in styles that range from Baroque to Brazilian

Archie Blue (B)
8:00 p.m.; University Baptist & Brethren Church

Archie Blue was formed by State College pianist Arthur Goldstein in 1979 and was a fixture in the local music scene for most of the 1980s and provided the soundtrack for the award winning film, Magic in the Afternoon before the band members went their separate ways.

Arietta Women’s Ensemble (B)

9:30 p.m.; St. Paul's United Methodist Church

Arietta is best known for their rich “womanly” sound, their extraordinary musicianship, and their ability and willingness to take on challenging and unique repertoire of all styles, ages, cultures and languages.

Below Centre (B)
3:00 p.m.; Faith United Church of Christ

Below Centre is a tuba quartet from State College. You will enjoy the deep and rich harmonies and altogether unique sound as they select from a repertoire that includes traditional, classical, marches, ragtime, jazz, Latin, popular tunes, novelty pieces and more.

Biscuit Jam (B)
8:00 p.m.; Faith United Church of Christ

Biscuit Jam performs unique acoustic interpretations of classic rock favorites as well as traditional folk songs and Americana-flavored original compositions.

Jonathan Burns (B)
3:30 7:30 and 10:15 State Theatre

Jonathan has unusual talents of contorting his body in wacky ways, doing comedy, and magic tricks, and various sideshow stunts. He has performed at over 250 colleges & universities, at festivals across the US, Canada, China, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, & the UK. He was recently featured on The Jay Leno Show & The Late Show with David Letterman.

Callanish (B)
4:00 p.m.  State College Presbyterian Church

This traditional band brings music from Ireland and Scotland to the mountains of central Pennsylvania. The four women of Callanish share the music of their heritage - reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes, and songs of love and longing for homeland.

Carriage Rides (B) Sponsored by Downtown State College Improvement District
7 p.m.; Mayor Welch Plaza

$5.00 per person plus a 2014 First Night Button
. Three carriages drawn by Percheron draft horses will take you back in time as they take you through downtown State College. Dress warmly—it’s difficult to turn up the heat in an open carriage. Rides are on a first come, first served basis. Due to high demand, not all of those wishing to ride may be accommodated.    

Kim Cook & Anne Sullivan (B)
10:15 p.m.; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

Cellist Kim Cook has performed to critical acclaim as a soloist in 27 countries and has toured as Artistic Ambassador for the U.S. State Department. C
Harpist Anne Sullivan began her career as a concert harpist at age twelve when she appeared twice as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.  A native of the Philadelphia area and a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, she is in demand as a recitalist, chamber musician and symphonic soloist.

Mark DeRose & the Dreadnought Brigade  (B)
8:30 p.m.; Grace Lutheran Church

Imagine if you will James Taylor and Dave Matthews enjoying each other’s company contemplating pop rock. Their musical progeny would be Mark DeRose and The Dreadnought Parade. The band’s tuneful music is filled with wry metaphors of hope and celebration—the things that makes feel good music feel good.

Deirdre Flint (B)
10:15 p.m.; Grace Lutheran Church

No two ways about it, Deirdre Flint is a perennial favorite with First Night-ers. 
Deirdre Flint writes songs about the trials of being an introvert, the Failed Metric Coup of 1975, horrendous bridesmaids dresses, and all the warped and wonderful experiences of adolescence.


Giant Puppet Display

6:00 p.m.; Canterbury Hall, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

208 West Foster Avenue
Discover the well-populated menagerie of giant papier-mâché creatures made to be worn or carried in the First Night Procession. Dragons, lions, fish, carousel animals and everything in between will be primping before their big moment in the First Night procession. We have something for everyone—men, women, short, tall, big, little, young, old. When it comes to puppets, one size does not fit all. The procession starts promptly at 6:30 p.m.  


Grand Procession

Sponsored by Centre Daily Times

One high point of First Night® State College, the Grand Procession, steps off at 6:30 pm on New Year's Eve, December 31st. The Grand Procession features an array of giant papier mache puppets consisting of birds, lions, wizards, and other animals, brought to life by your friends and neighbors. Local drummers are also welcome to join in by utilizing one of our African drums or by bringing their own drum.
Unlike a parade, the procession invites spectators to join in, for when it comes to this Grand Procession, the more really is the merrier. We have oodles of puppets in a wide variety of sizes, so there really is one that’s just right for you. If you would like to be a part of the Grand Procession, please meet no later than 6:00 pm in Canterbury Hall, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 208 West Foster Avenue.
The First Night® procession isn’t just for kids; some of the pieces are so large that they must be carried by adults. And some even require more than one adult. It’s a great activity for a bunko group, a church circle, or any other group of people. 
(And –admit it—didn’t you always want to march down the middle of the street as a giant purple aardvark?)

Heritage Brass (B)
1:00 p.m.; Faith United Church of Christ

Heritage Brass extensive music library includes music for dancing, complete church services, marches, pop tunes, jazz, swing & show tunes, Dixieland, complete weddings, and Christmas tunes.

Hilby (B)
4:30, 7:00, & 9:00 p.m..; Penn State Downtown Theatre Center

Best described as a show without boundaries, Hilby is the living proof that being German doesn’t mean you can’t be funny. While being an expert in juggling all sorts of objects and subjects as well as countless circus and variety skills (such as unicycling, ropewalking, unsupported ladder, fire manipulations and eating, balancing stunts and the list goes on and on), he really gets his audience involved and creates magical and hilarious moments through their participation.

Joe Holiday (B)
5:00; 6:45 & 9:30 p.m.; State College Municipal Building Community Room

Joe Holiday is an award winning magician who has been working in the entertainment industry for over twenty years. From Singapore and Seoul South Korea to the casinos of Atlantic City, his hometown, Joe’s family-friendly approach to magic and comedy has made him an audience favorite on cruise ships, at amusement parks, and private and corporate events the world over.

Rick Hirsch 4 + 1 (B)
10:15 p.m.; University Baptist & Brethren Church

Ring in the New Year with this stimulating concert of progressive jazz.  Local faves Kevin Lowe (drums), Jeff Beck (bass), Mac Himes (guitar), and Rick Hirsch (saxophone) will be joined by the fantastic British trumpeter/composer Eddie Severn. You can expect to hear this exciting band navigate Severn’s compositions as well as some of the standbys of their own repertoire.

Hot Soup (B) Sponsored by Hold-It Self Storage
8:00 p.m.  State College Presbyterian Church

Hot Soup is your blue ribbon recipe for harmony! Sue Trainor, Christina Muir, and Jennie Avila blend their stylistically diverse musical talents to cook up a spicy vocal trio. Audiences rave over their close harmonies and the variety in their repertoire, from ballads to blues, from retro to novelty songs.

Dennie Huber (B)
Noon and 7:00 p.m.; Downsborough Room, Schlow Centre Region Library

Magician and balloon animal-ologist Dennie Huber is a veteran entertainer, performing at fairs, festivals, and events throughout Central Pennsylvania. The noon show is free to the public.

Ice Skating (B)
  5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 p.m.; Pegula Ice Arena

CATA Shuttle bus service runs to the rink from College Avenue. 
Sponsored by Geisigner
Ice skating, accompanied by the sounds of Larry Moore Productions, is FNSC’s most popular events, and makes a great way to slide into 2014.  Skaters glide and dance to music provided by LMP.  Ice will be resurfaced at 45 minutes past the hour. Ice skates may be rented for $1.75.

Live Mannequins

6 p.m; Appalachian Outdoors

You won’t want to miss the State College High School Thespians as live mannequins in the window.

Ted McCloskey and Friends (B)
6:00 p.m.; State College Presbyterian Church

Ted McCloskey’s award winning music has been featured on AMC’s The Walking Dead, NBC’s, The Voice, and on PBS, MTV, Discovery, and The History Channel, among others. In March 2013 Honda Motors picked up a track from his 2012 album, The Last of the Pin-Up Girls for use in a national television ad campaign. 

Middle-earth Studios presents The Pirates of Buccaneer Isle (B)
  2:00 &  4:00 p.m.; Westminster Hall, State College Presbyterian Church

Since ancient times storytelling has enchanted people of all ages. Middle-earth Studios’ kind of story-telling is an interactive celebration that brings out the kid in everyone.  Anyone can be a part of our story and they costume up to 100 people from the crowd. 

Nittany Highland Pipe Band (B)
4:30 p.m.; St. Paul's United Methodist Church

The Nittany Highland Pipe Band is one of the only pipe & drum bands in Central Pennsylvania.

Revamped (B)
3:00 p.m.; University Baptist & Brethren Church

Revamped is an independent duo who have been bringing the precision of classical training together with the energy of pop concerts ever since since establishing the group in 2008. They have performed in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Washington D.C., and abroad in Austria and Greece.

Nittany Knights (B)
2:00 p.m.; State College Presbyterian Church

Barbershop music, with its close, unaccompanied four-part harmonies, is a uniquely American musical folk art. Although scholars cannot pinpoint where or when this art form was born, the growth of the tradition was certainly aided between the 1860s and 1920s by the types of songs popular at the time - songs characterized by sentimental lyrics and uncomplicated melodies that could be easily harmonized with a variety of four-part chords.

One Block Ice Sculpture Exhibit

10 a.m. – midnight; Downtown and Sidney Friedman Park

The One-Block Ice Sculpture Exhibit runs through noon on January 1st.  Sponsored by State College area businesses, over seventy-five one-block ice sculptures are displayed for your enjoyment. Please follow the Ice Sculpture Map in our program guide for a walking tour of visual enchantment. Be sure to bring your camera and allow plenty of time to see our spectacular display!

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan St. Big 10 Opener
(B) + $5 5:00 p.m.; Bryce Jordan Center

Wear your First Night button and join the Nittany Lions as they ring in the New Year in their Big Ten opener against Michigan State at 5:00 p.m. on December 31, 2013.   Your First Night button enables you to purchase a single game ticket for just $5.00. Make Penn State basketball part of your First Night celebration!

Pepper Lotus Tribal Belly Dance Troupe (B)
5:00 p.m.; University Baptist & Brethren Church

Middle Eastern dance  
The troupe performs Improvisational Tribal Style belly dance, a modern American take on traditional belly dance.  Many members are also highly trained in more classic genres of belly dance, so the troupe also showcases a full variety of belly dance styles from around the world.

The Puppet Factory presents The Flying Tortoise (B)
1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., & 5:00 p.m. Days Inn Penn State

Master puppeteer Carolyn Koerber returns to First Night State College with The Flying Tortoise, a trickster tale from Nigeria.  This is the story of a mischief-making tortoise named Mbeku, who has a beautiful golden shell and thinks he deserves the best of everything.  Every day, he finds clever ways to trick the other animals and steal their food. One day, the animals plan a trick of their own that leaves Mbeku with a dull, bumpy shell. But this trickster is a true survivor who outsmarts them all in the end!

Ron Ray – Organ Grinder

7:00 p.m.; State College Municipal Building Plaza

The hand cranked street organ was developed in 18th century Europe as a small instrument used to aid in training songbirds to sing specific songs. From this humble beginning, this small musical box evolved into larger instruments that we think of as street organs.

Phil Spangler & Joel Blunk (B)
10:00 p.m.; State College Presbyterian Church

Phil and Joel perform original songs that help us understand that our everyday hopes, fears, joys, and sorrows are anything but pedestrian.

State College Area High School Jazz Band (B)
6:30 p.m.; Grace Lutheran Church

The State College Area High School Jazz Band is among the finest in the United States and has an international reputation for excellence. The band has received 30 consecutive years of superior ratings in festivals and competitions.

State College Area High School Thespians (B)
4:00; 7:30 p.m.; Fairmount School Auditorium 
(Use Fairmount Avenue Entrance)

The State High Thespians' Edinburgh Fringe Festival Troupe will present the Pennsylvania premiere of In Silence, a thoughtful Holocaust-themed one-act play with a resolution message for the New Year. The play poses a provocative question: "How do we know if we should speak up or remain "In Silence"?

Summit Hill Bluegrass (B)
10:00 p.m.; Faith United Church of Christ

Strasburg, Pennsylvania’s Summit Hill Bluegrass is comprised of four members who have been playing together for over fifteen years. This show will be a special bluegrass gospel performance.

The Tarnished 6 (B)
4:30 p.m.; Grace Lutheran Church

The Tarnished 6 Traditional Dixieland Jazz Band was formed in 1967 and has performed throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.

Toot-in-Common (B)

3:30 p.m.; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

 The group’s repertoire consists of popular and classical favorites arranged for flute choir and works written especially for flute choir. Instrumentation includes one piccolo, six to eight C flutes, two alto flutes, one bass flute, and one cello.

Tussey Mountain Moonshiners (B)
5:30 p.m.; Faith United Church of Christ

The Tussey Mountain Moonshiners is a quartet that plays traditional bluegrass, old-time, and folk music as well as original tunes. Winners of The Acoustic Brew’s local showcase competition, the Tussey Mountain Moonshiners are quickly becoming a favorite at Central Pennsylvania events.

Voxology (B)
7:30 p.m.; St. Paul's United Methodist Church

Voxology has opened for the legendary Doc Watson,  Peter Rowan and his Texas Trio, the Grammy award winning Alison Brown Quartet and the renowned folk artist Tom Paxton. They have been featured at music and arts festivals in the mid-Atlantic region, land, Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida and Utah.

Worship Services:
 Two downtown churches will offer New Year’s Eve services.  The public is invited to attend.
Faith United Church of Christ will hold a Worship Service at 7:00 p.m.
Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church will offer Holy Eucharist at 5:00 p.m.

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