The party is over in Dover

Blame it on the recession, but “First Night Dover”, the city’s New Year’s Eve party will not take place this year.

The December 31st party goes back to 1996.  Organizers say they can’t raise the funds necessary to keep it going in a way that is consistent with past events.  “It has been a tough time for many non-profits lately, with people not able to give like they used to, or choosing to give to organizations that address basic social needs, and that is completely understandable,” board member and former event director Shelly Cecchett said.  She adds that because of that the reserve funds used to run the event have also gone down.

First Night is based on a model used in different cities around the U.S.  It was a family-oriented, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve alternative featuring music, arts, hand-on activities, comedy and more at sites throughout downtown Dover.

Even though the board doesn’t see any way to hold a party this year that doesn’t mean it will never come back.  Cacchett said the board will stay together.  She adds that if the economy changes and funding sources become available then the party will return. 

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Last year, the city of Wilmington cancelled its First Night festivities that had been scheduled to ring in 2011.  Wilmington Mayor James Baker announced the decision during his budget presentation in March 2010.  Wilmington’s New Year’s Eve party had its start 17 years earlier.  

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