News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene

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Opportunities for families to join together in a memorable celebration to usher in 2014 begin as early as 6 p.m. and continue to that magic midnight moment when the torch is officially passed to a promising new year.


What greater venue to herald in this holiday of new resolutions than the YMCA, where the folks at the Massad Branch have hosted their New Year’s Eve Family Party for more than a decade?

“It’s all about fitness and fun for the whole family,” said Tiffany Keyser, who is coordinating a bevy of activities.

The festivities provide an opportunity to enjoy favorite features of the facilities while others may be introduced to the Y for the first time. Family tennis sessions will be available in 30-minute increments (participants are encouraged to wear clear non-marking shoes to protect the court), and one portion of the gym will be reserved for Family Basketball.

Parents and their children may also want to try their hand at pickleball, a paddle game that is something of a cross between badminton and ping–pong, played on a modified court.

Families can also go for a swim in the warm and inviting waters of the wellness pool. Kids can play under a giant mushroom rainshower or slip through the rapids of the tube slide, and children of all ages can take on the challenge of the 40-foot inflatable obstacle course.

Meanwhile two fitness classes will offer a sample of the YMCA’s course offerings throughout the year: Family Zumba and a Family Drums class—with dynamic cardio exercises to the rhythm of drumsticks on multiple stability balls.

The exercise equipment will be available for use throughout the event, as will the steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools. Refreshments will be provided by Chick–fil–A and Subway.

“Often three generations of a family will come to the party together,” said Keyser. “It’s a great way to ring in the new year, promoting a healthy lifestyle for the whole family!”


As activities at the YMCA draw to a close, First Night activities in downtown Fredericksburg will just be getting underway. Welcoming the new year for the 20th time, this year’s event promises to be better than ever.

“We’ve endeavored to bring the highest quality of entertainment for both children and adults to First Night this year,” said Wil Gravatt of Gravatt Entertainment, which is coordinating the festivities, with the generous support of Pohanka Honda.

This year’s celebration will feature a special “Kids’ Town” section, with face painting, a pedal train track, two moon bounces, the gyroscopic twists of the Orbitron and rides for all in the giant monster truck. Throughout the night, the Monkey Man Minstrel and Lola the Clown will be performing and mingling with the crowd.

“The kids feel special and ‘grown up’ because they get to participate—rather than just following their mom and dad around or staying at home with a baby-sitter,” said Joanne Jones, Fredericksburg’s leisure service coordinator. “Families can enjoy the night together in a safe, open and fun environment and it’s a place where parents don’t have to worry about ‘life’ for a while!”

Crafts for kids will include making a New Year’s mask and fan, and favorite activities for the younger set include the “bubble stomp” (a raucous session of little feet flattening a ground covering of bubble wrap!) and joining in the First Night Parade, led by the Drum Dragon.

As the parade makes its way back to Kids’ Town, the globe drop is set to go at 9 p.m. for the little ones. At midnight, as the official First Night Globe drops in Riverfront Park, fireworks will light up the skies to herald the promise and prospects of 2014.

What: YMCA’s New Year’s Family Party

Where: Massad Branch, YMCA 212 Butler Road, Stafford

When: 6–9 p.m. Tuesday

Cost: Free for YMCA members; nonmembers, $6 for family of four.

Info: 540/371-9622;

What: Fredericksburg’s 20th annual First Night Celebration

Where: Sophia Street and side streets to Caroline Street, from Wolfe to William streets.

When: 7 p.m. to midnight Tuesday

Cost: Admission buttons are $5 advance, $8 at event

Info: 540/940-2205;

Collette Caprara is a local writer and artist.



  • itisme

    Will there be restrooms and where. Will there be indoor places to go and eat or drink?