December 13, 2013: First Night is a family friendly, non-alcoholic way of celebrating New Year’s Eve. In New Jersey there are a lot of family friendly parties, concerts and special events scattered all over the state. We will be adding more events as we find them. If you know of a great family celebration of New Year’s Eve in New Jersey that we missed, please leave us a comment below. Also see our other New Jersey New Year’s Eve Page. Here’s our guide and Happy New Year, New Jersey!
N.J. First Night Celebrations
Central Jersey First Night & Family Friendly Celebrations
The Hogmany Bonfire, Free: The Hogmanay Bonfire has been a Lawrence Historical Society tradition for 16 years. The bonfire began as a way to showcase the Brearley House while it was being renovated and proved to be so popular it has become an annual event. The first bonfire was suggested by Joe Logan, who remembered fires like this from his childhood in Savannah. In his hometown the fires marked the end of the holidays and they were a good way to get rid of the family Christmas tree. LHS took Logan’s suggestion and combined it with Hogmanay, another festival that often includes bonfires and a large community gathering. The Hogmanay Bonfire will take place in the Great Meadow behind the Brearley House and will be lit promptly at 6:00pm by our fire master, Joe Logan. A bagpiper will be onsite to entertain the crowd and the house will be open for tours. Get more info
Jersey Shore First Night
Ocean City First Night 2014, $15.00 Button: Ocean City sponsors one of the biggest parties in New Jersey to ring in the new year. The celebration begins in the afternoon and continues all night long. The festivities include a long list of concerts featuring just about any type of music you might want, including: rock, country, folk, doo wop, Broadway, gospel, big band and barbershop quartet music. That’s not to mention the other entertainment like: jugglers, magicians, story tellers and Irish Dancers. The town also sponsors a 3 course Taste of the Jersey Shore type dinner. It features dishes provided by the Ocean City Restaurant Association. This N.J. First Night is capped off with a fireworks display at midnight to welcome in the new year. Get more info
Seaside Heights First Night 2014, $5.00 Bracelet: Seaside Heights celebrates First Night a little earlier than any other town in New Jersey. Their party begins at noon on Tuesday, December the 31st and culminates with a fireworks display at 5:00 p.m. on the Boardwalk. The event features family fun at local arcades on the boardwalk. Bracelets are required and are on sale now at the arcades and at the County Connection. Get more info
North Jersey First Night
First Night Morris, $20.00 Tickets: Morris County rings in the New Year’s Eve with a non-alcoholic celebration of the arts and culture. Held in Morristown, it features over 400 artists and 80 performances at 24 venues. You’ll find all types of performances: jazz, world music, rock, theatre, dance and comedy. It is an incredible bargain with advance tickets available at 17.50 each for a 4 pack, or $20.00 each. Events take place in venues within walking distance of Morristown Green. Some of those venues are: The Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown High School, Morris County administration buildings, and places of worship. The celebration begins at 7 p.m. on December 31, and ends with fireworks at 9:00 p.m. and midnight. Get more info
Maplewood-South Orange First NightThe Maplewood-South Orange First Night Celebration has been cancelled for this year, 2014.
Montclair First Night has been cancelled for this year, 2014.
South N.J. First Night
New Year’s Eve Kids Kazoo Parade, Collingswood, Free Take the kids out for a chance to toot their own horn or their own kazoo. The Pop Shop in Collingswood will be holding their 5th annual kazoo parade this year. All the kids will be given kazoos at the restaurant and the parade will start at 4:15 p.m. Mummers from a local string band will lead the children down the street where a New Year’s Eve Countdown will be held and cookies will be served. The restaurant will be serving dinner that night till 10:00 p.m.
First Night Burlington County, $14.00 for 2 Buttons: The first night party in Mount Holly in Burlington County begins at 6:00 p.m. and features the performing & visual arts, buskers, workshops, and fireworks. The theme for this year is the year of the horse. The fireworks show will be staged at 9:30 p.m. Get more info
First Night Haddonfield, $15.00 Buttons: The first night party in Haddonfield begins at 6:00 p.m. and features free performances by ABBA-Mania, The Unexpected Boys performing Franki Vali, Four Seasons and Jersey Boys numbers, The Depue Brothers Band on violin playing bluegrass, classical and rock, Gregory Grene’s Acoustic Mix playing funky Celtic folk tunes, The Cherry Hill Pine Barrons Barbershop Chorus, Benjamin Biers playing classical guitar, and many more. There will be numerous performances especially for the little kids and teenagers. There will be free shuttles running from the Methodist Church, the schools, Kings Court Gazebo, Indian King Tavern, Haddon Fortnightly. There will also be small plates available from local restaurants for under $10.00. The highlight of the night will be a fireworks show at 9:00 p.m. More info here.
Battleship New Jersey Overnight Encampment with Fireworks, $64.95 Tickets: Ring in the New Year with an entirely different type of experience, staying overnight on the Battleship New Jersey. You’ll enjoy one of the best views of the fireworks over the Delaware River from the decks of The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial. Tickets are 64.95 per person and dinner, a chow-line breakfast, a tour of the ship and a ride in the 4D Flight Simulator are included. More info on BestofNJ.com