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6,000 Balls Drop at First Night Alexandria New Year's Eve Bash |

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6,000 Balls Drop at First Night Alexandria New Year's Eve Bash

From Visit Alexandria:

ALEXANDRIA, VAAs New York City drops the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, Alexandria will drop 6,000 balls on revelers as laser lights crisscross the sky and club music moves people to dance and sing at the First Night Alexandria finale on the lawn of the George Washington Masonic Memorial. The finale warms up with a dance party on the Memorial lawn beginning at 10 p.m. with tunes by DJ Ray Casino. At 11:30 p.m. the show goes multimedia, with video, music, and a swirling spectrum of colorful lasers, culminating in a midnight countdown and ball drop. Party-goers will want to snag a ball so they can enter to win prizes. On January 1, participants who go to First Night’s Facebook page and post a photo of themselves with a ball and First Night badge will discover if they are a winner.

First Night Alexandria is a mega mix of live musical acts and entertainment with 100 performances at 18 indoor venues throughout Old Town Alexandria. Swing, Argentinean tango, Cajun, rock, blues, jazz, and entertainment for kids, are just some of the acts ringing in the New Year. With these performances, plus a comedy magic show, interactive kids’ activities and the all-ages, brain-teasing Fun Hunt, First Night Alexandria is the largest family-friendly and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve event in the region. Your ticket for the event is a First Night badge which gives you access to entertainment and activities at spots all around Old Town. This year’s First Night headquarters is the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, just blocks from King Street Metro Station.

Starting at 7 p.m., with your First Night badge and schedule in hand, stroll Alexandria’s charming historic streets among venues, or hop on and off the free King Street Trolley to catch your favorite acts. Check out fabulous entertainment at venues including the Torpedo Factory Art Center, the Little Theatre of Alexandria, historic Christ Church, and the Lyceum. Museums, public buildings, and even retail shops are turned into performance venues to showcase incredible regional and national talent. Make a night of it with dinner at one of Old Town’s acclaimed restaurants, pop into a warm, inviting pub, or grab a bite to eat at designated First Night venues.

New musical acts in 2011 include:

Matthew Mills, named one of the 50 fastest guitarists by Guitar World magazine, performs instrumental acoustic guitar influenced by flamenco guitar and contemporary jazz.

Grammy nominee Ray Owen whips up a feast of classic tunes, Americana and roots acoustic music and stirs in a healthy helping of comedy. Owen has performed with Garth Brooks, Arlo Guthrie, Bill Monroe and Bob Hope, and has toured with Willie Nelson and America.

Junkyard Saints will be jamming with New Orleans party music. The band won the Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE award in 2009 and 2010 for best roots rock group, and bandleader Brian Simms was awarded WAMMIE 2009 Musician of the Year.

Phyllis Chapell & SIORA will serenade with a mix of songs in different genres and languages and perform originals played on guitar with vocals and percussion. Phyllis Chapell was named one of the top 500 jazz vocalists of all time by Scott Yanow (Downbeat/All Music Guide).

Anthony "Swamp Dog" Clark, the 2010 winner of DC Battle of the Blues Bands and 2011 International Blues Challenge semi-finalist, presents blues with a funk edge.

Keira Moran, a 16 year-old pop singer/songwriter and T.C. Williams High School student, is the winner of the 2011 National "Smashtune" songwriting contest and was a finalist at the Kuaui Music Festival Songwriters Contest. Her debut album was released in November.

Dance the night away at the George Washington Masonic Memorial with the New Orleans-style music of the Junkyard Saints and the irresistible swing of King Teddy. Boogie down at the Torpedo Factory Art Center with Grammy-nominated Bill Kirchen's roots rock and roll and the Grandsons’ rocking rhythm and blues.

This family-friendly event is chock full of activities for kids including face painting, moon bounce, clowns doing balloon sculptures, and interactive games. Check out the Seaworthy Small Ships activity and sail model boats for free, or buy and build your own. Join Hooray for Books' own Miss Megan for a rollicking evening of stories and songs. Kids also love the How-To Cowboy Joke Fest, sing-along and rhythm instruments with Mr. Don, and more. Alcohol-free venues keep it fun and accessible for all ages – and children under 12 are free.

Start your New Year’s Eve fun in the afternoon with the Third Annual First Night Fun Hunt between 1 and 4:30 p.m. This year’s fun hunt has been crafted by T.C. Williams High School senior Lauren MacCracken. Lauren’s clues focus on a George Washington theme – a theme very important to Alexandria’s history. The scavenger-style hunt uses puzzles and clues to take teams to sites around Old Town. Everyone that completes the hunt clue sheet is eligible to win great prizes. Winners must be present at the kick-off event at the Durant Arts Center at 5 p.m. to claim their prizes.

Families can also take part in NEW crafty afternoon activities from 1 to 3 p.m. The Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N. Union St.) presents free art projects. Potomac Bead Company (1104 King St.) presents Family Fun Day, where kids are invited to design a zipper-pull, stretch bracelet or charm necklace for just $6. All materials and labor costs are included.

“My family has been going to First Night Alexandria for 15 years,” says Kerry Donley, First Night Alexandria board president and vice president of Virginia Commerce Bank. “Now my grown children are taking their kids. It’s a great way for families, couples and singles to enjoy a carefree and fun New Year’s Eve. And you won’t find a cheaper date around!”

This year’s First Night has been made more “green” through a partnership with Dominion and Dominion Green Power which purchased renewable energy certificates on behalf of the event.

Go to www.FirstNightAlexandria.org for the complete schedule of shows and activities and to buy admission badges. Explore dining options and plan your visit to Alexandria at www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com.