Organizers of First Night Evanston, the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, are scrambling to come up with an extra $30,000 in program funding as the result of the state budget impasse that has cut off access to two anticipated state grants.

Organizer Stuart Rosenberg says they’ve launched an online campaign on the crowd-funding site Indiegogo. He says organizers only started talking up the campaign on Tuesday and have already received donations of over $1,000.

Rosenberg says the state funds would have helped to pay musicians performing performing at the event.

While he says there’s an outside chance the state budget impasse may be settled later this year, there’s no guarantee, and it now doesn’t look like any release of the funds would happen until after the event is over.

“So we decided probably the best way to close the gap was with community support,” Rosenberg says, “since the community has been so supportive of the event in the past.”

First Night, which had been a long-time tradition in Evanston, was revived in 2013 after a hiatus of several years and grew substantially in scale last year.

Rosenberg says the new crowd-funding campaign offers “remarkable perks” for donors — including a chance for major supporters to have musicians Corky Siegel or Howard Levy perform in their homes. There also are other rewards, including restaurant gift certificates and First Night logoware.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. I find appalling that the

    I find appalling that the state was even funding this event. If this costs over 30k, maybe something else should be planned.

    1. Other options?

      How about designating the downtown area an "event" area..with store and restaurant owners offering special pricing…pricing for kids…prize drawings. coupons…free parking….discounts on the theaters and a whole lot more…but on their own…so families and friends know that they can come to that area and enjoy themselves at minimal cost.   It would be good publicity for the vendors as well.  The city wouldn't need to do anything  except to patrol the area as usual.

    2. Just stay home?

      Jeez Skip… just stay home and let the rest of us have a little fun ya sourpuss. The state funds hunting, fishing, and lots of other things that people enjoy. If you don't like going out with your neighbors and enjoying a night of music and fun, stay home and grumble.

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