Watching Tuesday’s tree lighting ceremony at Evanston’s Fountain Square had a tinge of sadness for Doris and Martha Rudy.

The mother and daughter pair, viewing the ceremony from the Prudential real estate office in the Fountain Square building, have been key players in First Night, a New Year’s Eve tradition in Evanston.

But after a 15-year run, First Night won’t be happening this year.

The Rudys say the event has struggled financially the past few years. Between the high cost of bringing in performers for the program, which filled venues all over the downtown area, and a dwindling number of volunteer activists, they just didn’t feel it made sense to attempt the extravaganza again.

Martha Rudy says she hopes the show is just on hiatus and that new volunteers can be found to bring it back to life next year.

Anyone interested in helping revive the event can contact Martha Rudy at 847-239-7819.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. How sad indeed… My family
    How sad indeed… My family has seen First Night as a yearly tradition, always fun, safe, accessible and convenient. It will be missed.

  2. Costly First Night
    Well, we attended First Night for a few years then found it was very costly to get tickets to do a few things geared for small children. There just didn’t seem to be a true entertainment value. It was a nice hallmark of the town and hopefully something will come along as a replacement.

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