POLAR TO PICK UP TAB FOR FIRST NIGHT SHOW
Fireworks light up the sky over Worcester as 2007 gives way to 2008. Foul weather forced the cancellation of last year's display. (T&G File Photo/TOM RETTIG)
By Aaron Nicodemus TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WORCESTER — First Night's fireworks displays are back.
Polar Beverages has stepped forward to finance the entire $15,000 cost of the two annual fireworks displays on New Year's Eve, after news earlier this month that the displays had been scrapped because of shrinking financial support.
“We are ecstatic and thrilled by Polar's generosity,” First Night Worcester Executive Director Joyce Kressler said in a news release announcing the return of fireworks. “First Night Worcester is the second-oldest New Year's Eve celebration in the world, and the reason this long-standing tradition continues is because of citizens and corporations like the Crowley family and Polar Beverages that continue to support the work that we do year-round in celebration of the arts.”
Traditionally, First Night Worcester has put on two fireworks displays, an early one for children and one at midnight. This year, the fireworks will occur in two different places.
The first display will take place about 6:30 p.m. at Worcester Memorial Auditorium, at the end of the Community Procession. Children will still be able to make their own “fireworks display” by stomping on a giant carpet of bubble wrap, donated by UPS.
The midnight fireworks display will be moved from Lincoln Square to Worcester City Hall on the Common, at 455 Main St. Beginning at 11:30 p.m. before the fireworks, revelers can write their New Year's resolutions on wish sticks that will be burned in large fire pits called resolution fires. Fire jugglers will perform on the Common and the countdown in New York City's Times Square will be simulcast on a large screen.
Had the fireworks shows been canceled, it would have been the second straight New Year's Eve celebration in the city without fireworks. Foul weather canceled last year's show.
After news of the fireworks cancellation last week, Worcester City Manager Michael V. O'Brien approached Polar Beverages President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Crowley about possible solutions for saving the fireworks. Mr. Crowley offered to pay for the fireworks in its entirety.
“I am not surprised by Ralph's response,” said Mr. O'Brien, in a prepared statement. “The Crowley family and Polar Beverages are shining examples of all that is good about Worcester. They believe in our community and in the causes they support. This is great news and a wonderful indicator of even more good things to come in the New Year.”
Mr. Crowley, in the same statement, said: “Polar Beverages and the Crowley Family realize that 2009 has been a difficult year for many.” “First Night Worcester is a traditional family event, which has always featured two fireworks displays. We are delighted that we are able to help put them back on the program.”
First Night Worcester will showcase eight continuous hours of music and performances in more than 20 venues around the city. Buttons are required for admission to all performances and activities, but the fireworks shows are free.
Buttons are available at CVS, Price Chopper and other retail locations. They are on sale for $8 until Christmas, after which the price increases to $12 until Dec. 31, and will be available at the event for $15. Children 10 and under are admitted free. More information is available at firstnightworcester.org.
I love Polar and Wachusett. The Crowley's are wonderful people and Worcester is lucky to have them! THANK YOU!
Posted by Michael
GO POLAR!!!! I hope everyone goes out and stocks up on local manufacturers like Polar who give back to the community. Not to mention, Polar is really good soda.
Posted by Vernon Hill Native
THANK YOU many times over. Orange Dry rocks!!!!!
Posted by Tobi
Thank You POLAR!!! You are awesome and so is the BEAR!!!! Keep up the good work!
Posted by bear
'Thank You' Polar Beverages.
Worcester can always count on you to quench their thirsts with a bang.
Posted by Bombero
Thank you to the Crowley family and Polar Cola!!!
What a great way to support our community. I know I will be buying Polar products for all future functions!!
Posted by thanks polar