City arts council cancels New Year’s Eve activities amid COVID concerns

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UPDATE (11:45 p.m. 12/30/21) — The Springfield Area Arts Council states that the planned fireworks display set for late New Year’s Eve also has been pandemic-postponed to December 31, 2022. 

“We truly are grateful for our continued partnership with the City of Springfield and Nostalgia Pyrotechnics as we’ve brought this celebration of the arts to the community for over thirty years, but, to help keep that community healthy, it is better to cancel this year’s fireworks show,” said Arts Council executive director Sheila Walk.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The latest event to be scuttled due to rising COVID concerns: family-friendly activities on New Year’s Eve as part of the Springfield Area Arts Council’s “First Night” Celebration.

The council’s Executive Director Sheila Walk confirmed the move on Wednesday night. Afternoon events at the Hoogland Center for the Arts and First Presbyterian Church will not take place. There will be no virtual replacement. The Hoogland Center will contact First Night ticket holders about a refund.

Friday Night Jazz, this week featuring Stone Cold Blues Band, will continue as planned from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Boone’s restaurant at 301 West Edwards Street.

“We care about art.  We care about our community,” Walk told our newsroom. “Although this year’s celebration of the arts is COVID-canceled, please join us in looking forward to First Night Springfield 35.0 on December 31, 2022.”

Walk said this is the first time this event has been canceled. She said there were virtual events last year from multiple cities across the country.

The outdoor finale of the planned “First Night” activities is a fireworks display. Walk said she is awaiting word from the city and the pyrotechnician on whether the fireworks will go on. A city spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment by our newsroom.

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