This year’s always popular First Night® Oil City will once again offer attendees a wide variety of outstanding entertainment complemented by two fireworks displays; a “Gusher Fireworks” display at 7:00 p.m. and a “Midnight Burst” will occur at midnight. The action packed family-oriented non-alcoholic celebration also will include outdoor bonfires at Justus Park and Central Avenue Plaza that are built by the City’s Public Works Department, with the Boy Scouts providing the wood and tending the fires. Early evening activities will include hat making; craft making; and, a kickoff Cool Night Light People Procession that will begin at the Transit Building Gate. As always, there will be great food available about town and a shuttle bus to transport people from venue to venue. Over the past 19 years, those who attend First Night have often commented, “There’s so much to do – – you won’t be able to do it all!

Hat-making will take place in the ground floor hallway area of the National Transit Building from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Craft-making will take place in classrooms at the Trinity UM Church from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., with church volunteers offering supplies, so people can make their own T-shirts, necklaces and tattoos; The Butler Clowns, featuring Dennis and Cheryl Butler, members of the Masonic Rite Family Clowns, will share their humor, magic, skits, balloons and music while performing in classrooms at the Trinity UM Church; from 6 pm – 9 pm.

The Cool Night Light People Procession will commence at the National Transit Building Gate at 6:45 p.m. and provide participants an opportunity to use noisemakers, wear creative hats, or wave “First Lights” or their very own LED creation as they dance, shout and make their festive journey down the street and all the way to Justus Park to the drum beat of Tasana Camera. The Cool Night Light People’s Procession is for self-expression and participation is encouraged! Later in the evening, everyone is invited to participate in a Drum Circle at the Transit Annex at 9 p.m. to help gear up for the New Year with noise and enthusiasm.

A myriad of unique and stellar entertainment will take place to help usher in 2016. Entertainment occurring on the City’s North Side includes Dennis James, performer of live interactive accompaniments for silent films while playing the piano, theatre organ, musical glasses; Cliff Hopkins; whose magic includes slicing a woman in half while she’s standing, making it snow indoors or defying the laws of gravity; Maureen Galiber, originally from Australia, who sang backup for legends such as Roberta Flack, Tina Turner and Sammy Davis, Jr.; Geoff Bach, a skilled juggler and acrobat who engages audiences by using silent improvisational comedy; the Bulter Clowns, who combine humor, magic, skits and balloon tying to entertain the young at heart; and; Bill Sandusky of Erie Ice Works, who will spend the evening creating 6 block ice thrown in the Town Square while people enjoy watching him work, then having their photo taken.

Entertainment occurring on the City’s South Side includes Community Playhouse, Oil City’s local theatre group that sings, acts, and dances pieces from some of their performances throughout the year; Tasana Camera, who plays the Kora with musical sounds that can resemble a harp, flamenco or delta blues guitar; Matt Gavula, Erie’s Piano Man, playing the songs of Elton John, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, America, Matchbox 20 and more; America’s Best Frisbee Dog, an highly trained performing dog that can catches Frisbees other objects; The Storytellers Band, from Greensboro, NC, featuring contemporary jazz that melds rock, blues, jazz, gospel, R & B, and Latin flavors; Samantha Sears and the Banned, a creative self –taught, multi-talented musician who plays the ukulele, guitar, bass, tambourine and kazoo; Robert Morelli, a Dean Martin impersonator with the look, attitude and humor you remember or Dean Martin; American Pie Oldies Band from Pittsburgh to play music from the 50’s to the 80’s; Charles Stayduhar, and award winning Frank Sinatra impersonator; and, Nathan Licht, a young man with a beautiful voice and a winner of Franklin’s Taste of Talent Competition.

First Night banners mark the location of each performance site.

A handicapped accessible shuttle bus will be running from 5:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. North Side stops will be near National City Bank, the National Transit Building and the Visitor’s Center. South Side stops will be near the Grace United Methodist Church, Masonic Hall and the St. Stephen Church.

Admission to First Night Oil City events requires the purchase of a button at a cost of $10. Children 5 years of age and younger are admitted FREE. With a button, attendees may choose to attend any of the 15 indoor events by purchasing and wearing their First Night Button. Blinky buttons are worn by First Night Volunteers. They donate their time to help make the events possible. Advance button sales will take place at Oil City Library, Williams Decorating, Spilling the Beans, the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce, the National Transit Fine Art Gallery, Giant Eagle (Oil City & Franklin), Thorne’s (Oil City), and, at the Days Inn.
A very comprehensive event schedule accompanies each button sold. It contains all of the information you need regarding the events taking place on First Night. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook to get even more details about the event.

Button sale sites after 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve will include The National Transit Building and The Days Inn on the North Side and at Spilling the Beans on the South Side. Color changing “First Lights” are for sale on New Year’s Eve at these locations.

The members of this year’s First Night Committee included George Cooley, Jeff Corbett, Dan and Patty Feroz, Lynn Pacior-Malys, Bill and Robin Moon, Libby Williams and Susan Williams.

In order to continue the event from year-to-year, the Committee is always in need of additional members and community volunteers. If you are interested in joining the committee, serving as a volunteer, or need additional information, please contact Susan Williams at the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce at (814)676-8521 or at: swilliams@venangochamber.org.