New Year’s Eve 2011 will look a little different in downtown Austin tonight. The bar and club scene will be about the same. But there won’t be a “First Night Austin” celebration, as there has been in years past.
In fact, this will be the first New Year’s Eve in six years where there has been no “First Night Austin” celebration. Organizers announced at the end of September that they didn’t have the money to stage the family-friendly downtown party this year. They’re hoping to be back to ring in 2012.
In the meantime, the City of Austin has stepped in with its own, slightly more modest New Year’s celebration.
“Austin’s New Year, ANY, with the theme, ‘Anyone, any dream, anything is possible,’ is a free, public, family-friendly celebration,” said Megan Crigger of the city’s Cultural Arts Division at a news conference this week.
The event kicks off about sundown on Auditorium Shores. Mayor Lee Leffingwell praised Council Member Randi Shade and City Manager Marc Ott for spearheading the drive to create this year’s celebration. It features something for everyone.
“It’ll feature food vendors, live music, acrobats and other performers, and a fireworks show starting at 10:15pm,” the mayor said.
The music will range from the Biscuit Brothers to baroque to R&B to world music. And the early fireworks display may be the best part for some: Everything will be over before the stroke of midnight, so parents don’t have to worry about keeping kids awake until then or having to pack their sleepy children into the car afterwords.
On the subject of cars, the Downtown Austin Alliance has a list of which lots will be available for parking. Capital Metro will also have some bus service available, including the Night Owl Service, though the buses are running on a reduced Saturday schedule.
Whatever you have planned for tonight, have a safe and Happy New Year!