- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 28, 2005

First Night will be celebrated this year in 123 cities in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. That includes nine communities across Virginia (Alexandria, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Leesburg, Warrenton, Waynesboro, Williamsburg and Winchester) and two in Maryland (Annapolis and Easton, which hosts First Night Talbot).

Each has its own character, but all share one goal: to bring a community together as it steps across the year’s divide.

Here’s a guide to celebrations in some of the cities near the capital.

Alexandria

Hours: 6 p.m. to midnight

Cost: Buttons $15. Children under 12 free when accompanied by adult. On New Year’s Eve, buttons will be available at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1900 Diagonal Road beginning at noon.

To get there: Metro to King Street, Dash shuttle bus to Old Town. Or drive into Old Town and follow signs for parking.

Information: 703/838-5005 or firstnightalexandria.org

Annapolis

Hours: Children’s activities 2 to 5:30 p.m.; all ages 6 p.m. to midnight.

Cost: Buttons $15 before Dec. 30, $20 Dec. 31; ages 6 to 12, $10; children 5 and younger free. Buttons are available at Giant Food Stores. Event-day buttons are available at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium parking lot and Annapolis Visitors Center — City Dock visitors kiosk.

To get there: U.S. Route 50 to the Rowe Boulevard exit to Annapolis. Make first right onto Farragut Avenue. Park at the Naval Academy stadium on left. Free shuttle service into the city.

Information: 410/268-8553 or firstnightannapolis.org.

Easton (First Night Talbot)

Hours: 6 p.m. to midnight.

Cost: Buttons $8 adults, $4 students before Dec. 30; $10 adults, $5 students Dec. 31. Children younger than 5 free. Buttons available at all First Night venues except Christ Church Sanctuary and Easton Town Hall.

To get there: U.S. Route 50 east to downtown Easton. There is plenty of free parking.

Information: 410/820-8822 or firstnighttalbot.com.

Fredericksburg

Hours: 6 p.m. to midnight.

Cost: Buttons $5; children 3 and younger free. Buttons are available at all First night venues.

To get there: Interstate 95 to Business Route 17, exit 133A. Continue for four lights to U.S. Route 1. Follow signs to historic Fredericksburg district on Caroline Street between Hanover and George streets. Plenty of parking is available.

Information: 800/260-3646, firstnightfredericksburg.com.

Leesburg

Hours: 6 p.m. to midnight

Cost: Buttons $8 for adults, $5 for children 2 to 12. Children 2 and younger free. Admission booths on King and Market streets in downtown Leesburg. Buttons also may be purchased at some performance sites after 6 p.m.

To get there: State Route 7 west, or take the Dulles Greenway to the Leesburg Pike Bypass to U.S. Route 15 North. Follow signs to downtown Leesburg.

Information: 703/777-6306, 800/752-6118 or bluemont.org.

Warrenton

Hours: 7 p.m. to midnight

Cost: Buttons $8 for adults, $5 for children 2 to 12. Children 2 and younger free. Admission booths on Main Street in Old Town. Buttons also may be purchased at some performance sites after 6:30 p.m.

To get there: Interstate 66 west to U.S. Route 29 south for Gainesville/Warrenton (the second exit for 29 South). Take the second Warrenton exit (Meetze Road) and go right. Turn right at the stop sign and follow Main Street into Old Town Warrenton. Plenty of free parking.

Information: 703/777-6306 or bluemont.org.

— Thomas Walter

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