State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

First Night State College

First Night State College

intro  |  Events  |  Comments

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. Special button 4-packs are available for $35 through Wednesday, December 24th at 4:00 p.m. Children 12 and under do not need a button if accompanied by a button-wearing adult. (see official site for details)


(B) requires button.

Schedule of Events, Wednesday, December 31, 2014

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.- 6:00 p.m.; South Allen Street
Under the direction of captain Ernie DiMartino, the First Night Ice Sculptors are expected to include Dick Alford, Robert Higareda, Gary Glenn, Jared McAlister, Joseph DiMartino, James Kowalczuk, Ryan Crosby, Chris Kolar, Thomas Higareda, Michael Seiler, and Ernie DiMartino. First Night State College uses ice blocks manufactured by DiMartino Ice of Jeanette and Strickler Ice Company of Huntingdon.

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

An Afternoon in Fairy Tale Land  (B)
12:00pm and 3:00pm; Community Room, State College Municipal Building

Join the State College Area High School Thespians for “quality time” with your favorite fairy tale friends. Each will have a musical story to share and will interact with the audience who may all join in the fun. The program is especially suitable for children.

The Second Winds  (B)
1:00pm; Faith United Church of Christ

The Second Winds have performed in Centre County and vicinity for over ten years. The band gets a kick reliving their less mature years by playing popular tunes from the 30s through the 70s – a mix of jazz, swing, polka and post-50s tunes from Ain’t Misbehavin’ to Sweet Caroline.

The Knee-High Man  (B)
1:00pm/3:00pm/5:00pm; Days Inn Penn State

Since 1970, master puppeteer Carolyn Koerber has presented puppet theater that excites the imagination. Carolyn returns to First Night State College with a traditional folktale from Alabama, The Knee-High Man.

Dennie Huber, Magician 

1:00pm & 4:00pm;  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 Legend of the Unicorn  (B)
2:00pm & 4:00pm; State College Presbyterian Church

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 we costume up to 100 people from the crowd.

Jay Vonada Quartet (B)
2:00pm.; State College Presbyterian Church

The Jay Vonada Quartet has played jazz standards and original compositions at regional festivals and celebrations for several years.

Below Centre  (B)
3:00pm, Faith United Church of Christ

The members of Below Centre create a melodic presence for First Night State College.:00

Madame Babushka, Fortune Teller
3:00pm,  Schlow Centre Region Library

What does 2015 hold in store for you?  Madam Babushka, an itinerant Fortune Teller from the misty hills of Eastern Europe, will reveal your New Year destiny.

Carriage Rides (B) Sponsored by Downtown State College Improvement District
7:00pm; Mayor Welch Plaza

$5.00 per person plus a 2015 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.    

Easterly Chamber Players  (B)
3:30pm; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

This delightful trio consists of Diane Gold Toulson on flute, Smith Toulson on clarinet and Anne Sullivan on harp.

Toot-in-Common  (B)
3:30 p.m.; University Baptist and Brethren Church

 The group’s repertoire consists of popular and classical favorites arranged for flute choir and works written especially for flute choir.

The Comedy Rosmans  (B)
3:30pm/7:30pm/10:15pm; State Theatre

A comedy and juggling sensation, Michael Rosman is joined (but never upstaged!) by his lovely and talented kids, Sophia and Ethan.

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

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?)

Rick Hirsch & Smoove  (B)
4:00pm; State College Presbyterian Church

Ring in the new year with the Soul Jazz of Smoove, a classic “organ trio” with a contemporary flavor.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (B)
4:00pm & 7:30pm; Fairmount Avenue School

Presented by Singing Onstage. An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home life, the tweens spell their way through a series of [potentially made-up] words hoping to never hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.


Arietta Women’s Ensemble (B)
4:30pm; 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 a challenging and unique repertoire of all styles, ages, cultures and languages.

Deacons of Dixieland  (B)
4:30pm; Grace Lutheran Church

The Deacons play a broad range of Dixieland style jazz music, including classic Dixieland selections, blues, and country music in a Dixieland style.

Alain Nu, Mentalist  (B)
4:30pm/7:00pm/9:00pm  Penn State Downtown Theatre Center

Exploring the line between what is real and what isn’t, Alain Nu challenges audiences and leaves them in awe.

Pepper Lotus Belly Dance Troupe  (B)
5:30pm; University Baptist & Brethren Church

The troupe performs Improvisational Tribal Style belly dance, a modern American take on traditional belly dance.

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. rIce skating is FNSC’s most popular events, and makes a great way to slide into 2015.  Skaters glide and dance to music provided by Larry Moore Productions.  Ice will be resurfaced at 45 minutes past the hour. A First Night button is required to access the arena. 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.

Alan Sands, Comedy Hypnotist (B)
5:00pm/6:45pm/9:30pm; State College Municipal Building

Imagine the possibilities for entertainment, education, and good old fashioned First Night fun with this energetic and original performer.

Callanish (B)
 6:00pm; State College Presbyterian Church

Since 2001, this traditional band brings music from Ireland and Scotland to the mountains of central Pennsylvania.

Naomi Seidman and Jonathan Dexter (B)
6:30pm; St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Naomi Seidman is an assistant professor of flute at Penn State and flutist with The Pennsylvania Quintet and the Rhapsoidos Trio. Cellist Jonathan Dexter studied at the Oberlin Conservatory, the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, and the University of Texas.

State College Area High School Jazz Band (B)
6:30pm; 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.

Archie Blue (B)
7:00pm; University Baptist & Brethren Church

Local jazz institution Arthur Goldstein and his group regularly play in the region.

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!

Ron Ray, Organ Grinder
7:00pm; 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.


Big Coronas Band (B) (B)
7:30pm. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

Big Coronas Band was begun in 2012 in State College by a group of multi-talented instrumentalists who love heavy jazz music – in this case a hybrid of funky music and jazz characterized by a strong back beat and heavy groove.

Tussey Mountain Moonshiners  (B)
7:30pm; Faith United Church of Christ

Winners of the 2010 DelFest Bluegrass Band Competition, State College’s Tussey Mountain Moonshiners honor the bluegrass traditions of the region.

Deb Callahan Band (B)
8:00pm; State College Presbyterian Church

Philadelphia’s blues and soul-drenched vocalist and songwriter Deb Callahan has been a mainstay on the mid-Atlantic music scene since the late 90’s.

Biscuit Jam (B)
8:30pm; Grace Lutheran Church

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

Natascha and the Spy Boys (B)
9:00pm; University Baptist and Brethren Church

This State College cabaret act includes Natascha Hoffmeyer on vocals backed up by two veteran Central Pennsylvania players, Andy Tolins and JT Thompson.

Urban Fusion  (B)
9:30pm; St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

Urban Fusion, co-led by saxophonist Dr. Eli Byrne and percussionist Dr. Andrew Jackson, blends elements of jazz, rock, Latin, funk, and soul into musical jambalaya that inspires both dancing and dreaming.

Joel Blunk, Musician  (B)

10:00pm; State College Presbyterian Church

 Joel Blunk has been singing and playing the guitar since he was 5 years old, and writing songs for just as long.

The Ultra Kings (B)
10:15pm; Grace Lutheran Church

Combining rockabilly and rock and roll in just the right proportions, the Ultra Kings create a sound all their own.

Kim Cook (B)
10:15pm; St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

Ms. Cook has performed to critical acclaim as a Cello soloist in 27 countries and has toured as Artistic Ambassador for the U.S. State Department.

State College, PA Radar
current conditions icon 43°F
Real Feel© 46°F
Wind ENE / 5mph