What happened to First Night? First Night was a New Year’s Eve version of Bele Chere without the alcohol, but with a wider variety of entertainment. I know it was going in the late 1990s and into the 21st century, and then morphed into a smaller, Civic Center event. Now I google for what is offered on New Year’s Eve in the area and, other than individual business events, nothing comes up.
We need a winter celebration! I see trendy condominium complexes towering in downtown Asheville, growth between Hendersonville and Asheville bursting along Interstate 26, so there are more people living in the area who would attend. Resurrect First Night, a winter festival that warms spirits and shows support for the arts in all seasons.
— Kathy Kyle
Editor’s comment: First Night Asheville was a big success in its early years, but then experienced dwindling public response and reduced support from the city. In its final couple years, it was no longer staged at multiple venues throughout downtown, but entirely hosted in the Civic Center. The single-location strategy may have doomed it.