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New Year’s Eve means fireworks, First Night and fun

Bill DeYoung



Look for fireworks off the St. Pete Pier at 8 p.m. and midnight Friday. Photo: Unsplash.

For New Year’s Eve, the City of St. Pete is pitching ice skating under the stars at The Pier. The rink’s been there since Nov. 20, as part of the Winter Beach attraction, but this is a special “Midnight Skate” event, with extended hours.

For the $17 admission, you get 75 minutes on the ice, skate rental included, from 11 a.m. Dec. 31 to 12:30 a.m. Jan. 1. Is this what Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson meant by the song “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day”?

The Pier will blast a fireworks display at 8 p.m., and again at midnight.

Now in its 29th year, First Night St. Pete is a family-friendly string of events happening downtown Friday evening, at 12 different venues. Admission is through the purchase of custom-designed “buttons” (available here).

For the first time, things include a special kids’ Fun Zone and festival on The Pier, from 4 to 7 p.m.  There’s a magic show, a “mad science” show and a Sea Creature Parade and procession down the Pier trolley route, on to Bayshore Blvd. for the perennial First Night favorite, the bubble (wrap) stomp. The Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center is involved, too.

The Bubble Stomp. Photo: First Night.

The schedule is large – there’s a lot to take in – and it’s available here.

Just a few First Night highlights:

First United Methodist Church (1): Music (starting at 6 p.m.) includes Kasondra Rose, Nate Najar and Daniela Soledade and Jengle Slap.

Williams Park (2). Monarch Butterfly art and science exhibition; Underground Cirque; Cannonball Cabaret.

Christ United Methodist Church (3): St. Petersburg Opera Company at 7 and 9 p.m.; Florida and Sarasota Orchestra at 8 and 10 p.m.

Plaza Courtyard (4). Salsa dancing.

South Straub Park (5): Barney from Urban Gypsies leads a drum circle 7-9 p.m. Art by Zulu Painter and Ryan Tuttle. South Straub is the location of the all-ages interactive Art Park.

North Straub Park (south of the Museum of Fine Arts) (6) : Illumination Station (illuminated local art for sale) until 11 p.m.

North Straub Park (north of the Museum of Fine Arts) (7): Labyrinth (7-11 p.m.); James Oleson Fire Sculpture (11:30 p.m.).

North Straub Park (Finale Stage) (8): Performances (starting at 6:45 p.m.): Dundu Dole Urban African Ballet; Jay Camara; Bus Stop Band.

North Straub Park (Pavilion) (9): Kids’ bubble stomp, 7:45 p.m.); Silent disco, 8:30-11:30 p.m.).

Additional fireworks

Look up for pyrotechnical displays over Gulfport Beach (7 p.m.), at 9 p.m. at Upham Beach (68th Street at Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach) and at Clearwater Beach at midnight.



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  1. Avatar

    Hal Freedman

    December 30, 2021at4:50 pm

    As Chair of First Night, I need to point out that First Night (a not-for-profit 501c3), NOT the Pier, is responsible for the Fireworks. They are paid for by First Night and sponsored this year by Duke Energy.

    If readers want First Night to continue next year (our 30th) and into the future, it is important that they purchase our flashing Buttons with art this year by local muralist Cecilia Lueza. The buttons provide admission to indoor venues (Jazz & Opera), and along with sponsorships, are our only revenue sources.

  2. Avatar

    Leslie Curran

    December 30, 2021at6:32 pm

    Hal Freedman, your comment is correct. First Night has been produced my a non profit organization for 29 years, not by the City! The Pier does NOT PAY for the fireworks. They are produced and paid for by First Night, and this year we are pleased to have the sponsorship of Duke Energy to assist in paying for them. The Pier
    (a City owned facility)has allowed for activities on site , and assisted with fencing! Button sales secures the funding for the event ,along with City funding and numerous sponsorships!
    Happy New Year 🎉🎉🎉

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