First Night Ocean County, (
First Night Ocean County, (

After taking a Superstorm hiatus, Ocean County continues the tradition of its alcohol free, family friendly, 'First Night' festivities in Seaside Heights this year.

Danielle Gries of the Seaside Heights Business Improvement District (BID) said there will be great family entertainment in participating arcades rain or shine. "Which will include face painting, caricature portrait artist, balloonist, a great show by the Give and Take Jugglers and also a show from Jenkinson's Aquarium."

According to Gries, the BID has hosted 'Ocean County First Night' for about a decade but 'First Night' originated in Boston in 1975 as an alternative to rowdy, alcohol-fueled New Years Eve celebrations by featuring the arts, music, food, culture and comedy. The celebrations caught on Nationally with hundreds of events held nationally but those numbers are dwindling because of municipal budget constraints and a lack of volunteers, according to some New Jersey Mayors.

There are however, a handful of 'First Night' events still being held in New Jersey. Ocean City is hosting one of the largest, along with Morristown, Mount Holly, Haddonfield and even an overnight celebration on the Battleship New Jersey.

Gries said the reasons they keep hosting the event is because "they (families) love being here. You know it's a family tradition and even new families that come over, they want to make new family traditions and this is one of those events that allows that to happen," she explained.

Gries says $5 dollar bracelets are on sale now at the County Connection in the Ocean County Mall. Tickets can also be purchased at any of the participating arcades.

First Night starts at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, December 31st in the Casino Arcade, Coin Castle Arcade, Lucky Leo's Arcade, and Shake Shoppe Arcade. For a complete schedule of entertainment visit or call 732-830-3700.

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