Organizers of Evanston’s First Night celebration anticipate a record-setting turnout for this evening’s events downtown.

Emily Guthrie, who heads the First Night group, says online ticket sales have more than doubled last year’s numbers.

Total turnout last year was 2,700 people, Guthrie says, and she’s hoping for a capacity crowd of 4,000 tonight.

The festivities actual start this afternoon with a children’s program at the Evanston Public Library from 1 to 4 p.m. featuring Professor Marvel’s Amazing Flea Circus and Dennis DeBondt, who bills himself as “The Sears Tower of Magic.”

Evening events begin at 7 p.m. at four downtown churches and the Music Institute. Guthrie says there will be at least a half-dozen food trucks clustered around Raymond Park providing refreshments.

While most of the program is aimed at grownups, there will be a series of events targeted to teens at Immanuel Lutheran Church — including the teen improv group Underage Sugar Addicts and a battle of the bands.

Weather will be chilly, with an overnight low of 15 degrees forecast by the National Weather Service — but that’s about 10 degrees warmer than it was last night.

You can still buy admission buttons and wristbands online and pick them up on site.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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