Columbia Eve Fest Renamed; Now an Independent Event

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COLUMBIA - First Night Columbia has chosen to drop its association with parent organization First Night USA and become an independent organization. The New Year's Eve event was a part of First Night USA for the past 19 years but will now be called Columbia Eve Fest. 

Karen Chandler is the Superintendent for Parks and Recreation and said the event wasn't getting many benefits from being associated with the national membership. 

"It was really not worth the amount of money we had to pay every year so we thought we should try to just become our own event," Chandler said. 

Executive Director Jane Accurso said the switch will allow the event to have a more creative edge. She said the community can expect some changes to the celebration but that it will generally be similar to years past. 

"We're looking at venues just on 9th St. and are working to get the street closed between Locust and Elm," said Accurso. "We also are trying to only get performers who are from the Missouri area."

The event is including new venues such as the Missouri Theater, United Methodist Church, and Columbia Art League. Organizers say keeping the event in a focused area will promote safety and allow for alternative accommodations if the weather doesn't permit residents to be outdoors. 

For more information about Columbia Eve Fest events and performers you can click here.