First Night to include new block party for 2020 celebration

The gathered crowd watches at the gazebo drops to ring in 2019 in Bradford. The First Night Bradford Committee has plans well underway to welcome 2020.

Revelers at this year’s First Night Bradford will be able to ring in 2020 at a block party in Veterans Square.

The block party, to be held from 10 p.m. to midnight and to feature live music from local band Rockmaninov, will be just one of numerous activities in the daylong celebration.

First Night Committee Co-Chairs Barb Pedersen and Don Martyna and committee member Barry Larson met with The Era to share details on the annual New Year’s Eve shindig.

The block party will end with Bradford’s renowned gazebo drop. Other details of the event finale are still in the works.

Another new feature this year will be a Chinese auction.

The committee is looking for anyone who would like to donate items such as gift certificates or baskets for the auction. To donate, people can talk to any committee member or visit the First Night Bradford Facebook page.

Also, “We’re always looking for volunteers for the night and to join committees,” said Martyna.

Contact the committee through Facebook to volunteer. Organizers will meet with volunteers about a week prior to make sure everyone knows where they need to be.

The event will also feature special 2020 giveaways.

A long list of entertainers are on board to take part. Among them are magician/comedian Tim Piccirillo, Trigger Happy, Those Guys, Jim Ronan with Kylie Wilber and Connor Brien, Coyote Moon Duo, Brianna Blankenship, Randy Andreano, Dan Roche, Studio B Dance Academy, the Bradford Flames, all-star cheer team Storm Athletics, Dave Jeffers with magic/balloon animals/face-painting, the Bradford Area High School chorus and Bwana Jim.

New venues this year are three storefronts that will stay open: Moments to Remember, Cummins Country Charm and On the Side Books.

Other venues will include the St. Bernard gym, the Father Leo Gallina Social Hall, the Friendship Table, the McKean County Arts Council, the Marilyn Horne ballroom, First United Methodist Church, Hill Memorial United Methodist Church, the Church of the Ascension and Grace Lutheran Community Center.

The “First Night Firsts” — such as the First Bowl at Byllye Lanes — are also in the planning stages.

There will be food vendors on Main Street, as well as food at some venues.

Buttons will still be $5 — the same price they were when First Night began. The button gets attendees into all the above events. Ages 6 and under get in free.

“We will be listing our button outlets soon,” Pedersen noted.

On the day of the event, people will be able to get buttons at the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce office, Tops Friendly Market or at any First Night venue.

The committee always welcomes donations to help put on the elaborate event.

Checks or money orders can be mailed to: P.O. Box 706, Bradford, PA 16701. People can donate via PayPal on the event website,

There is one New Year’s Eve children’s attendees do not need a button for: the New Year’s Eve celebration at Bradford Area Public Library.

For several years, the library has hosted activities to celebrate the new year for small children and their adults. The event is held earlier in the day on New Year’s Eve.

All the planning in the world cannot prepare the committee for this wild card: the weather.

Last year, New Year’s Eve brought temperatures of 55 degrees — which Martyna joked he had predicted. However, the day was as rainy as it was warm.

This year, “I’m also predicting it’s going to be 55 degrees,” Martyna prophesied.

But this year the group is aiming for sunny skies, too.