A new years experience unlike any other:
Fire, Ice, Music, & Dance

In its 20-year history, First Night has developed a reputation as a safe, exciting, family-friendly alternative to traditional New Year's celebrations. Tacoma's was the first First Night to take place west of the Mississippi. In 2000, First Night Tacoma won the prestigious Prism Award from First Night International for the Best Programming among all of the 300-some cities in the First Night world. In a normal year between 10,000 and 20,000 will attend this celebration. This is truly a community-building celebration, utilizing many community cultural groups, allowing Tacoma-Pierce County actors and performers to "strut their stuff" for their neighbors and friends. The event draws from King and Thurston Counties as well.

First Night Tacoma-Pierce County is a not-for-profit organization formed under Section 501(c)3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Donations to First Night Tacoma-Pierce County are tax-deductible as charitable contributions for US federal income tax purposes.

The Four Pillars of First Night 

I. Community

First Night provides a strong vehicle to recreate the sense of community most of our cities have lost, and goers the potential of strengthening communal ties and of uniting people. It helps people rediscover their city, learn about diverse cultures and get acquainted with old traditions. First Night is an occasion to celebrate ourselves, to react upon our cultural diversity and the beauty of our city. At First Night, the arts take front and center stage in the life of the city. In preparation of the event, artists involve members of the community in innovative projects and pageantry, as well as create works that invite public participation and interaction during the festival.

II: Celebration

First Night is a Celebration. It is a fun, participatory, event that brings people together, through the arts, in a shared celebration of the New Year. It is a celebration that marks a special moment in time, but it is also a celebration of community, the arts, spirit, creativity, diversity and shared dreams and goals. And First Night is a celebration of the city itself. e city can get all dressed up and local artists transform the traditional urban landscape into their canvas. First Night’s stage is the city center, where members of the suburban and urban communities come together in festivity. The events location, in the heart of the city, goers a safe, festive route that is transformed into a spectacle of light, sound and compelling imagery.



First Night is a celebration of the New Year. It marks the passage of time from the old year to the new each December 31st. It derives its strength from the human capacity to make new beginnings. New beginnings bring hope. First Night sets in motion our hopes for the future both individually and collectively as a community. As a time-specific festival, First Night incorporates rituals and thematic elements unique and appropriate to this passage. At the stroke of midnight, our spirits soar high as we welcome the New Year with family and friends. We return home with a renewed sense of communal pride and feelings of appreciation, participation and discovery. Remembering our uncommon experience, we look forward to this annual ritual.


First Night is an invention of artists and it is their trust in the power of the arts to bring about communal harmony that distinguishes this particular celebration from other civic events. The arts play an important role in First Night because of their capacity to transform, to inspire, to enrich and to engage. They transcend boundaries of race, age, gender and social status. First Night provides a platform for musicians, poets, storytellers, dancers, actors, puppeteers and visual and media artists to showcase the city’s cultural landscape. is is the time to bring the rich variety of arts to all the people in the community.