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December 7, 2018

First Night cancelled because funds unavailable

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
The 2013 First Night crowd at old courthouse for finale.
Downtown Warrenton will have no “First Night” celebration this year.

Allegro Community School for the Arts announced Friday afternoon that it has canceled the traditional New Year’s Eve event “due to lack of funding.”

The Warrenton nonprofit took over the summer concerts and planned First Night after the Bluemont Concert Series folded in the spring.

“When Allegro set its annual budget, it was not known that Bluemont would close its doors and that Allegro would be asked to pick up the 2018 First Night Warrenton event.,” Executive Director Sam Yoder said in a press release. “Funding by the Town of Warrenton and Fauquier County was removed, as there was no one to request the funding” during local government budgeting.

“We discovered that other private funding that had gone to First Night Warrenton had also been reallocated,” Mr. Yoder added. “With only a month to go until the event, it was necessary to cancel.”

But, Allegro will try again — with a bigger event.

“Former first night volunteers already have a vision for the 2019 event,” Mr. Yoder said. “This is just a one year off, which we will put to good use in re-designing the event.”

“Celebrate New: A Winter Music and Arts Festival in Fauquier County . . . will promote local businesses, making Warrenton a tourist destination for art, music, shops, wine and beer tasting, restaurants and local artisans.”

The press release continues:

Businesses will be encouraged to have festival events and promotions/discounts during festival days. Guides will provide information on events throughout the town and county. A festival ticket will be available to purchase that will qualify ticket holders for discounts at businesses and entry into many free music and art events. 

The main festival event will be New Year's Eve in Old Town Warrenton complete with a tent in the middle of Main street with lights and heat that will help bridge the two ends of town and provide a communal location to warm up and to gather and enjoy beverages, food, as part of the evening.

An art competition, opened during winter 2019, will be exhibited in business storefronts on Main street during the festival.

Partnerships are being sought. More details will follow in upcoming months. Contact Allegro CSA with questions or to participate.
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halojones · December 10, 2018 at 5:31 pm
I find it very difficult to believe that a town with nonprofit organization is not able to continue such an amazing tradition of First Night. I mean if it’s nonprofit??? Where did all the funds go??? The only expense should be the permit to close the streets :(
JohnnyD · December 9, 2018 at 9:29 am
You are absolutely correct Melrose, poor management at its best. You would also think that bidders on the original job could have forseen a lot of extra work and placed higher bids to start with. Rewarding a low bidder by allowing the to double or triple their original bid after winning is absurd management of our monies.
Melrose Carter · December 8, 2018 at 7:39 pm
The old courthouse bid going from $40,000 to $100,000 due to more extensive damage of the tower then first bid on, was not a smart move. That contact should have been rebid once the Town knew it was going to cost much more then the winning bid.
JohnnyD · December 8, 2018 at 11:21 am
Since the reality is the Town has wasted all our money on their pet projects and cannot fund the great First Night celebration this year; maybe we should all just get together at the new roundabout or bumpouts and sing while lighting firecrackers.
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