Corporate Sponsor Saves Annapolis' First Night

First Night party in Annapolis, Maryland gets financial boost from sponsor

The sparkling cider can be ordered because it looks like there will be enough money for the city of Annapolis, Maryland to hold it’s First Night celebration. The city council voted to accept money from a corporate sponsor so the New Year’s party could continue. The family-oriented party has drawn thousands of people to the downtown area on New Year’s Eve for the past nine years.

The council was considering canceling the party this year because of escalating costs, but that's when the Internet Company Usinternetworking (USI) stepped in. USI will pay to lease the park at City Dock and will pay thousands of dollars in police overtime.

In the deal hammered out just before the last council meeting, three parties will help pay for the cost of the celebration. USI will pay the city $500 to lease the park and up to $17,000 in police overtime says USI Chief Executive Christopher McCleary. First Night will be asked to pay 50 percent of all other costs. However, First Night’s fees can’t top $5,500. This still doesn’t cover the cost of the entire event, the city will have to kick in an additional $3,000 according to the Capital-Gazette.

First Night’s Annapolis celebration includes indoor and outdoor entertainment which is all family-oriented. No alcohol is served at the event. The party is spread throughout the downtown area and the Gazette reports that up to 47 additional officers are needed to patrol the area on the night of the big party.

This new agreement will mean less money coming out of the First Night funds. The city council had initially asked First Night to pay 100 percent of police overtime costs and 50 percent of other costs including cleanup. When that deal was on the table First Night was ready to move the event off city property to keep the costs down. That’s when the corporate sponsor stepped in. USI and First Night still need to sign this latest agreement.

The city of Annapolis isn’t the first to have a problem with funding a First Night party. Lima, Ohio cancelled their party because of costs and Edmonton, Alberta Canada is cutting back on some of their festivities because they believe people are staying home because of potential problems related to the computer Y2K bug.

First Night started in Boston twenty years ago and now similar parties are being held in more than 200 cities nationwide. With the corporate sponsorship idea the city of Annapolis will be included in this year’s list of 200 celebrating the year 2000 with the family fun arts festival.

DATE: 10/14/99

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