Is First Night fading? There’s still good entertainment here

First Night Binghamton was missing some things this year. Several of our favorite entertainment groups were absent, such as Bronzissimo! select handbell choir, Svitanya (an Eastern European women’s ensemble from Philadelphia) and  — horrors! — Cobblestone Crossing wasn’t at the firehouse to give us our hootenanny fix. The number of classical music choices was less than half of last year. Then there was the parade, so desperately short of merry-makers (this, too, a sign of the economy?) that fewer than 50 of the 300 puppets in Southern Tier Celebrates!’ collection made the trip down Court Street. And is it a parade without a fire engine?

The turnout? We remember when you came early, so you didn’t have to stand six deep in the crowd to watch. No problem this year – no crowd, unless they were all at the starting point. The early snow had been cleared, and, though snow later in the evening made things slippery, the early evening was mercifully mild (compared with two years ago or the first First Night in 1996!). 

Nevertheless, for those who came, there were a number of good artists and activities to enjoy, including plenty for the kids.  Read the rest of this entry »