First Night Alexandria Announces New Management Team

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Ann and Rick Dorman Step Down After 17 Years

Fifth Generation Alexandrian Marilyn Patterson of  Joyous Events To Take Over

Today, First Night Alexandria announced a change in management.

Ann and Richard Dorman have run First Night Alexandria for 17 years and were recently named Living Legends of Alexandria. (Photo by Steven Halperson/Tisara Photography)

After 17 years at the helm of First Night Alexandria, the management team of Ann and Rick Dorman informed the organization’s board of directors of their intention to retire from producing the largest family-friendly and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve party in the mid-Atlantic region.

First Night Alexandria’s President Karen Pallansch, CEO of Alexandria Renew Enterprises, said “I think the board was in shock when the Dormans told us of their plans in the spring. We thought they would always be around to support us in what has become THE signature event for the City of Alexandria. The Board greatly appreciates the immense amount of hard work and love that the Dormans have put into our First Night venture.”

Marilyn Patterson, CEO of Joyous Events to take the reins of First Night Alexandria. (Courtesy photo)

Laurie MacNamara, First Night Alexandria’s President-Elect and Director of Business Development at Booz Allen Hamilton, added “Ann and Rick have orchestrated the growth of First Night Alexandria since 2001, and have partnered with our board of directors throughout the successful nine-month process of finding a new management team. First Night Alexandria is pleased today to announce that we have chosen local event management company, Joyous Events LLC, owned by Marilyn Patterson, to lead First Night toward its 25th anniversary on December 31, 2019 and beyond.”

Beginning on April 1, 2018, Joyous Events will assume management of the organization and oversee planning for the annual Alexandria performing arts festival throughout Old Town and Del Ray Alexandria on December 31st. “As a fifth generation Alexandrian, it is certainly a source of great pride and excitement to be able to give back to my hometown. We are looking forward to continuing the mission of showcasing all that is ‘fantabulous’ about living, working and having fun in Alexandria. Our leadership team, which includes Donna Walker James and Ryann Gaines, plans to build on the experiences which encourage you, on New Year’s Eve, to #staylocalFNA!”, expresses Marilyn Patterson, CEO of Joyous Events. 

First Night Alexandria has grown into the largest New year’s non-alcoholic event in the Mid-Atlantic. (Photo courtesy of Visit Alexandria)Joyous Events will build on a strong foundation left by Ann and Rick Dorman. The Dormans identified a void when First Night Alexandria did not happen on December 31, 2000, and agreed to assume event management, bringing First Night Alexandria back into existence in 2001. Starting small, with thirteen performance venues mostly west of Washington Street to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, the event attracted nearly 5,000 people that year.

By 2017, the event grew to twenty-one venues hosting a rich variety of performances, including many local performers, in Old Town and Del Ray. First Night Alexandria is now the premier family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration of the New Year through the performing arts in the mid-Atlantic region and a destination for visitors from around the country and the world.

Each year, revelers stroll Old Town Alexandria’s historic streets among art galleries, historic sites, churches and even retail shops that have been transformed into cozy performance venues. Intimate concerts at Principle Gallery and Imagine Artwear will entertain guests while the Torpedo Factory Art Center and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial rock with dancing to great bands. Old Town’s many restaurants and pubs welcome First Night fans, with a choice of eateries catering to families with children or couples looking for an upscale date night where they can toast the New Year. Old Town’s venues are complemented with a popular family-oriented carnival in the Del Ray neighborhood.

About First Night Alexandria

First Night Alexandria (FNA) is the largest family-friendly, budget-friendly and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve event in the region. FNA began in 1994 as a celebration of the New Year through the performing arts. Coffee shops, retail stores, hotels, museums and public buildings are turned into performance venues to showcase a variety of talent. First Night celebrations take place around the world, having been founded in 1976 by a group of civic-minded artists in Boston as a meaningful alternative to traditional New Year’s Eve revelry. FirstNightAlexandria.org.