It might be hard to believe, but the year 2017 is quickly coming to a close! But even though 2017 is winding down, the fun in the Charlottesville area is just starting to ramp up as we prepare for 2018! At the end of each year, a huge family-friendly celebration of the arts takes place on Charlottesville's historic Downtown Mall. This event, dubbed First Night Virginia, is one of the biggest New Year's Eve parties in the region and offers up quite a variety of things to do for folks of all ages. Here are a few of the highlights that you need to know about regarding First Night Virginia 2018!

1.) First Night Virginia Celebrates 36 Years

First Night Virginia is the second-oldest First Night celebration in the nation (only behind Boston, which began its celebrations in 1976). Charlottesville began this annual tradition in 1982, which makes this year’s 2018 celebration the 36th anniversary of the event! In fact, First Night Virginia has been so successful that it now serves as a model for the more than 130 First Night celebrations that take place worldwide!

First Night VA 4
(First Night Virginia - Photo Credit: Susan Kalergis)

2.) Family-Friendly Event

First Night Virginia is first and foremost a family-friendly event. The mission of First Night Virginia is to celebrate New Year's Eve by bringing artists and the community together for a unique evening of performances, events, and activities. This event is committed to remaining alcohol-free, accessible, inclusive, and fun for all ages, so there's no reason to miss this entertaining evening with all of your family and friends!

First Night VA 2
(Photo Credit: First Night Virginia)

3.) The Entertainment

Over the years, thousands of people have come to Charlottesville to enjoy First Night Virginia, and many of them come because of the entertainment! Each year people will be treated to an assortment of entertainment acts that includes singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, and there have even been jugglers and fire dancers over the years! Click here for a complete list of this year's fun and exciting entertainment schedule!

First Night VA 3
(Photo Credit: First Night Virginia)

4.) The Stroke of Midnight...

This is the moment everybody waits for and at First Night Virginia, there are two different opportunities to welcome in the year 2018! Perhaps you'd like to start the new year with some Prohibition-era jazz at the Omni Hotel ballroom, or you could count down the final minutes of the year while enjoying an improvisational comedy show at the Haven Sanctuary. Either way, you're in for a treat, as both events are sure to be terrific, family-friendly, and fun ways to start 2018.

As you can see, First Night Virginia 2018 is sure to be jam packed with festive and fun activities for people of all ages, from adults to even the youngest of children - but it's not the only celebration taking place in the Charlottesville area. The Clifton Inn is offering up a special fixed-price New Year's Eve menu, full of scrumptious morsels and bubbly champagne. Another option awaits at the Boar's Head Resort, where you can attend the Midnight Madness party! This fun event will feature live music, the ball drop shown on a big screen, a champagne toast, and even a children's game room. Or maybe you'd like to celebrate the start of 2018 at the bowling alley! AMF Kegler's Lanes will be hosting a New Year's Eve party filled with bowling, food, and even a champagne toast!

You'll probably need more than one day to fully take advantage of all the Charlottesville area has to offer around the start of the New Year, so here's a list of hotels, inns, and B&Bs. If you do decide to make an entire weekend out of any of these events, there is a huge list of reasons to have an extended stay in the Charlottesville area during the winter months. Click here for a recent blog post for some suggested winter activities that will pair very nicely with your New Year's Eve celebrations. There's no better way to ring in 2018 than right here in Charlottesville & Albemarle County. Happy New Year and we can't wait to see you!