Godfrey, Ill. –The re-opening of the Hatheway Cultural Center will once again bring the “main stage” back to the 17th annual First Night River Bend event. Numerous entertainers and acts have already been confirmed for the annual celebration of the arts that will take place New Year’s Eve on the Godfrey campus of Lewis and Clark Community College.
“We are pleased that we will once again be able to utilize the Hatheway Cultural Center and the Ann Whitney Olin Theatre as our main stage for performances that night,” said John Nell, First Night River Bend 2012 co-director. “We are looking forward to the updated features in the theatre and know they will add a level of excitement to the already exciting acts we have planned for the main stage.”
Gracing the main stage this year will be returning favorites master hypnotist Ray Thompson, illusionist Keith Jozsef and “The Whip Guy” Chris Camp.
Thompson, who hails from Des Moines, Iowa has been a part of First Night River Bend in the past, combining magic, hypnosis and theater to create his “Theater of the Mind” performance, which is memorable for all audiences.
Jozsef will also return to the Hatheway stage this year to present a show of mystery and wonder, featuring grand illusions, sleight of hand and plenty of audience interaction.
“I can’t think of a better way to conclude my 20th anniversary celebration year than by performing for the great crowds of First Night River Bend,” Jozsef said. “I have many new surprises in store for the audience this year.”
Another returning crowd favorite is three-time world champion whip cracker Chris Camp, who has been cracking his whip all around the world, entertaining crowds on Jay Leno, and touring places such as Hong Kong, China and Athens, Greece. Camp made his way onto the big screen in the 2006 film “Breaking and Entering.” He will perform numerous whip-cracking and dare devil feats for the First Night audience again this year.
First Night audiences will once again be treated to the comedy and magic of Chris Egelston, musical performances by Back in the Saddle and the Alton Landing Jazz Quartet, ice carvings by Chip Off the Block, air brush face paintings by Fantasy Faces, and numerous hands-on activities for the children.
River Bend Arena will open at 6:30 p.m. with activities and performances for children of all ages. Two fireworks shows will be held again this year, the first at 9 p.m. and the second at midnight.
Buttons will go on sale Nov. 28 at Dick’s Flowers, Jersey Community Wellness Center, all Liberty Bank locations and Party Magic in Godfrey. They cost $10 in advance, and $15 at the door. All children 5 and under are admitted free.
First Night River Bend is an alcohol-free, family-oriented New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts, featuring live music, singers, dancers, jugglers, magicians, and shows for people of all ages. First Night River Bend 2012 is a community project of Lewis and Clark Community College.