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First Night Salem returns to kick in the new year

December 8, 2008

SALEM- Community members will once again have the opportunity to enjoy a New Year's Eve of "Family, Friends, Fun and Food," as First Night Salem returns with an enhanced line-up of entertainment.

Now in its fifth year, First Night Salem will feature three new venues for community members to enjoy, according to event Co-chair David Schwartz, including country western music at the Elks Lodge, a rock-n-roll Cavalcade of Stars featuring tribute bands and impersonators at the Kent State University City Center and an ice sculptor at St. Paul's Church.

"It's just fun to see all the people walking around downtown and State Street; milling around, socializing with people you haven't seen in years," Schwartz said. "It's simply a feel good evening in a small town atmosphere."

According to, as of Sunday, venues include the Kent City Center KSU Auditorium, featuring a rock-n-roll combination of Wolfman Jack, Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Richie Valens impersonators, with Strader 60s, Beatles tribute band Abbey Road and the Strader Tribute Band, as well as the grand finale with artists from each venue; Kent City Center YWCA gymnasium (for children), featuring crafts, snacks and juggler and magician Beonte the Great; Masonic Temple, featuring the Stage Left Players "Hello Dolly" revue and the Ali Cleland Broadway Hits Revue; Memorial Building gymnasium, featuring the bluegrass band Allegheny Drifters, bluegrass gospel band Stockdale Family Band, folk band Dulci-More and folk-singers Bill Schilling and Linda Sigismondi; Elks Lodge, featuring country bands Driving Wheel and After Midnight; Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, featuring a Schilling and Sigismondi hymn sing, Ted Thorne, God's Quad and barbershop quartet All 4 One; St. Paul School gymnasium, featuring Beonte the Great's "The Danny Kaye History of the Court Jester," Salem Jubilee Chorus, Stormn' Normn and Del Rezek Group Polka Band; and Stark Memorial, featuring parlor magic by Jason Alan Magic and Beonte the Great.

Additionally, Ice Sculptor Ron White will sculpt an ice statue in front of St. Paul's Church throughout the day, the Salem Historical Society will host a "Golden Age of Radio" display and carriage rides will be available starting and ending in front of the Memorial Building.

Meals will be served at the Kent City Center YWCA gymnasium from 6-10 p.m., featuring pizza squares, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, nachos, fruit slices, candies and punch; Masonic Temple from 4:30-10 p.m., featuring turkey dinner, mashed potatoes, beans and turkey sandwiches; Elks Lodge from 6-10 p.m., featuring pulled pork, hot dogs and soft drinks; St. Paul School gymnasium from 4:30-10 p.m., featuring kielbasa and sauerkraut, subs and platters and desserts; First United Methodist Church from 4:30-7 p.m., featuring pork loin, cabbage rolls, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes; and Emmanuel Lutheran Church from 4:30-6:30 p.m, featuring stuffed cabbage, roasted pork loin, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Fact Box

WHAT: First Night Salem

WHEN: New Year's Eve

COST: Badges $10, children 10 and under free. Badges grant access to all venues.

INFORMATION: Visit, e-mail or call David Schwartz at 330-337-6829

Free transportation between venues will be provided by CARTS for those who need it.

"First Night Salem celebrates the arts in the city," Schwartz said. "It is simply a great evening of fun for people of all ages."

Badges cost $10 for adults and grant access to all entertainment venues. The event is free for children 10 and under. Badges are currently available at all Salem banks, Giant Eagle, the Salem Community Center and Kolby's.

First Night Salem is currently seeking volunteers. Duties will include selling and checking for badges, distributing programs and Mardi Gras beads and answering questions from community members. Anyone volunteering for two and a half hours will receive a free badge. Those interested can call Schwartz at 330-337-6829.

Promoting a safe, alcohol-free environment for families and friends to celebrate the New Year's Eve together, First Night is an international event celebrated in several cities in the area, including Canfield, Youngstown and Akron.

First Night Salem is funded solely through private donations. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible monetary donation can make checks payable to Salem Renaissance, Inc., and mail them to P.O. Box 444, Salem Oh 44460.

For information about First Night Salem visit

Kevin Howell can be reached at



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