The 19th annual First Night River Bend will offer a host of activities for children of all ages on New Year’s Eve at the Godfrey campus of Lewis and Clark Community College.

For the first time, this year’s family-friendly entertainment will run from 3-7 p.m. exclusively in the newly renovated Hatheway Cultural Center.

Casey the Entertainer, a master at stilt walking, juggling and balloon art, is delighted to participate in this year’s activities. In fact, Casey has been performing at First Night River Bend since the very first event nearly 20 years ago.

“First Night River Bend is the best family-oriented event of the year,” Casey said. “As the longest, continuous performer at First Night, I have enjoyed entertaining families during the festivities for almost two decades, and it remains my favorite annual event.”

Besides Casey’s antics, the Hatheway Gallery will also be abuzz with a variety of activities including face painting and other hands-on happenings. Miss Molly and Mr. Flakes will also be creating delightful balloon art.

First Night may just inspire children to create some art of their own, and they will have the opportunity to design their own puzzle and make art from torn paper. There will also be paper at tables for drawing and coloring.

Children will also love personalizing their very own hats. The Godfrey Lions Club will have whimsical, oversized hats and colorful trinkets to adorn them.

“Once again the Godfrey Lions Club is excited to be a part of First Night,” Lions Club member Heidi Todd said. “This is our eighth year of this fun project. L&C does a wonderful job for the community. We should consider ourselves fortunate to have such dedicated people. It is a lot of work.”

Before First Night concludes with one fantastic firework show at 7 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy the magical talents of Master Illusionist Keith Jozsef from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and the music of the Redhead Express and The Walker Family from 5-6:45 p.m. Both of the acts will appear on the Hatheway Stage.

As usual, caricaturists Bill Michel and Mike Dooley will be set up in the Hatheway Foyer to capture the smiling faces of First Night.

First Night buttons will are on sale at Party Magic and all Liberty Bank locations. Buttons are $10. 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, juggling, magic and activities for people of all ages. First Night River Bend 2014 is a community project of Lewis and Clark Community College in conjunction with the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation, the village of Godfrey, WBGZ and The Telegraph.

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