BUFFALO, N.Y. (December 1, 2010) – Western New York’s ultimate drug and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration was at the Independent Health Foundation’s First Night® Buffalo event from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday, Dec. 31, at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
The annual holiday family tradition celebrated its 22nd year in downtown Buffalo with activities for all ages to ring in the New Year, including rides and amusements, a storybook forest, hypnotist, music, magic, exotic reptiles, the grand finale balloon drop and more.
“Western New York families have celebrated a drug and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve at First Night Buffalo for more than 20 years,” said Carrie Meyer, executive director, Independent Health Foundation. “It’s an annual tradition for many families and we enjoy seeing them come back year after year to celebrate the New Year with us. The Independent Health Foundation along with Western New York United Against Drug & Alcohol Abuse is pleased to continue presenting this fun, affordable and safe drug and alcohol-free event to celebrate the New Year. We’ve got a great line-up of entertainment for everyone to enjoy as we look ahead to 2011.”
“First Night Buffalo is one of our region’s mainstay events and we’re pleased to support this event each year with our dedicated sponsors and volunteers,” said Michael W. Cropp, MD, president and chief executive officer, Independent Health. “This holiday tradition
provides a healthy, positive and fun environment to start the New Year and we hope to see thousands of Western New Yorkers at this year’s event.”
WNY United Against Drug & Alcohol Abuse is once again teaming up with the Independent Health Foundation to help spread the alcohol- and drug-free message in the community this holiday season.
“WNY United Against Drug & Alcohol Abuse is excited to help produce the 22nd Annual First Night Buffalo celebration,” said Kate Chudoba, communications coordinator, WNY United. “We strongly support the message of celebrating without drugs and alcohol and First Night Buffalo is the ideal event to accomplish this goal. We encourage healthy
choices and are thrilled to be part of providing families of Western New York a place to celebrate. Come out for an exciting family event that brings together rides, arts, and performances. What a great way to ring in the New Year!”
Also at First Night, WNY United introduced a new life-size drug-free Buffalo - WiNnY - and the new ‘HANDS OFF DRUGS’ campaign for the New Year. Area school children will create handprints that will be attached to WiNnY as a symbol that they will join the herd and pledge to be HANDS OFF DRUGS. Each decorated handprint offers hope for a safe and drug-free year. WiNnY is made possible through Evans Bank. WiNnY will continue to unite the herd by traveling to different WNY United partner schools and Evans Bank locations throughout the coming year.
Upstate New York Transplant Services is a main sponsor of this year’s event. “Each and every day throughout this year, thousands of people across WNY have truly been heroes by giving the Gift of Life through organ, eye, tissue and community blood donation, and thousands of lives have been saved because of their generosity and selfless
gifts,” said Mark Simon, president and chief executive officer, UNYTS. “First Night is a beloved tradition-it's how we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another.
I can't think of a better way for UNYTS to say thank you to our community than by Giving Back and being a part of this great event.”
The $8 event tickets, which go on sale Dec. 1 at all area Wegmans locations, include all rides, games and attractions. Children 2-years-old and under are free. Tickets are $10 at the door. Free parking is available at the Fernbach, Main Place Mall and Turner ramps,
courtesy of Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps, Buffalo Board of Parking and Mayor Byron W. Brown.
“First Night Buffalo is an essential part of the Buffalo holiday season,” Mayor Brown said. “First Night is a great way to enjoy downtown Buffalo in the recently renovated Convention Center with friends and family. This fun event offers a multitude of entertainment, options, that are both safe and free of drugs and alcohol. I commend the
Independent Health Foundation and WNY United Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse for their partnership and collaboration to produce such a fun tradition for thousands of area residents.”
Some of the First Night Buffalo Shows included:
Nickel City Reptiles and Exotics Recently seen on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show, Jeff Musial and his amazing collection of animals are a Buffalo favorite. Don’t miss this exciting and interactive show, you may have a chance to participate and see some special creatures up close and personal! Some of these magnificent animals include a porcupine, lynx, a wallaby, snakes, turtles and more.
Storybook Land: Bring your children to the land of storybook imagination. Here you can walk through one children's story after another while live characters welcome you. Some of these special
characters include the Grinch, Very Hungry Caterpillar, Max (from Max and Ruby) and more. Be sure to bring your camera!
Skyhunters Bird of Prey Show
Which Bird has silent flight? What is the fastest animal on earth? Join us to find out! From majestic hawks and eagles to wise owls and some fun surprises in between, you will be amazed at the beauty and strength of these raptors. No matter the age group, this
is truly a sight to be seen. First Night Buffalo is brought to you by Upstate New York Transplant Services and sponsored by Channel 7, Independent Health, M&T Bank, Wegmans, Buffalo News and
Lamar. For more information and a schedule of events, visit the First Night Buffalo website at firstnightbuffalo.org or call (716) 635-4959.
Established in 1992, the Independent Health Foundation works to improve the health and well being of Western New York residents through awareness, prevention, education and other programs focused on community health priorities. For more information on the
Foundation’s activities, visit www.independenthealth.com/foundation.