Montgomery County

Last Night celebration ready to go

St. Johnsville hosting this year's celebration

The village of St. Johnsville is hosting a Last Night celebration on Dec. 31 to ring in the New Year.

Such events are celebrations of community and culture observed on New Year’s Eve in cities and towns across the country, often under the trademarked name First Night. The inaugural First Night was held in Boston in 1975.

In Montgomery County, the event has rotated for nearly a decade among the villages of Fort Plain, Canajoharie and St. Johnsville. This year’s theme in St. Johnsville is “Celebrating the Past, Welcoming the Future.”

Dawn Lamphere, director of the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library and Museum in St. Johnsville, chairs the Last Night committee and said events are planned from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“Like mushrooms in the rain it just kept growing,” said Lamphere of the event.

The history of St. Johnsville and the surrounding area is a major focus this year. A photographic tour titled “The Way We Were” is occurring at the museum and library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., while tours of the Bates-Engelhardt Mansion will be conducted from 2 to 4 p.m.

Built in 1869, the mansion was the home of a local cheese merchant and later another local patriarch before it was foreclosed upon in the late 1920s. The building was then bought by local benefactors who designated it for municipal use. In 1935 it was designated as “The Community House” and later housed the village offices. Today the St. Johnsville Police Department and Village Court are located within the building.

Historical trolley tours around St. Johnsville will be given from 4 to 6 p.m. while Flame the Band plays in the same time slot at the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville High School auditorium at 44 Center St. (trolley rides to and from the high school are offered).

A tween and teen dance will be held at the youth center on Main Street (ages 10 and up unless accompanied by an adult) from 5 to 8:45 p.m., while several bands and musicians perform simultaneously at various locations throughout the village.
From 8 to 9 p.m. there will be a bonfire, ice cream cone toast and ball drop at the American Legion Post 168, 39 W. Main St., which closes out the event.

Lamphere said Last Night is a way for community members to connect with each other in an increasingly disconnected age dominated by technology.

“It’s important because it’s things like these that help to bind us as a community,” she said. “When you come from a small town like this it’s crucial to be able to sustain these kinds of bonds, it’s part of our foundation.”
More information on the day’s lineup can be found by calling the library at 568-7822. All events are free except for portraits at the Community House, which are being offered for $1 apiece from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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