Giving Back

First Night Alexandria Drive-In Was a Sellout Hit on New Year’s Eve!

FNA is a small, local non-profit and this party with a purpose is its annual fundraising event and the virtual event was a hit!

First Night Alexandria was reimagined into a virtual and drive-in success. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)

Alexandria, VA – “It was our very first time to party inside our car and we had so much fun,” wrote Glicyl Farnes on her social media page when she told friends and family about welcoming the New Year through the Drive-In Concert Experience: “First Night Alexandria.”

Nick and Glicyl Farnes at First Night Alexandria. (Photo: Facebook)

Instead of people hoofing it all over town, this year they came to the drive in. First Night Alexandria usually hosts over 100 live acts and performances around the city with tens of thousands of people shuttling from the West End to Del Ray to Old Town and the waterfront for an exciting finale of fireworks, but this year, First Night Executive Director Marilyn Patterson said, “It was time to hit the reset button with music and humor at a social distance. The First Night Alexandria Board of Directors decided not to take the easy way out and cancel. With 90 days to design, plan, and execute a reimagined First Night Alexandria, and in the midst of a global pandemic, we went to work to be true to our mission of showcasing the performing arts on New Year’s Eve.”


Both the virtual and the drive-in events were sellouts. “Surveys uncovered that most people usually watch three to four acts during a traditional First Night event,” said Patterson and for the 2020 experience, since many people were still more comfortable with staying home, the Board opted to provide two entertainment options. “We had a full two-hour live recorded, professional screen production designed to meet the needs of both audiences. We intentionally did not go longer as we considered the temperatures.”


Thanks to the generous support of local businesses, every vehicle received items that were on theme to the times including masks, mask holders, touchless door pulls, hand sanitizers, stain remover all in a reusable bag. There was also a virtual photo booth, a car-decorating contest, virtual trivia game, and for the VIPs, popcorn sampler, coupons for product and service discounts, and the ability to view the show again at home as an encore performance until January 31.


FNA is a small, local non-profit and this party with a purpose is its annual fundraising event. Proceeds enable FNA to support ACPS middle and high school students in the band, chorus, and orchestra programs.  “We were so excited to showcase T.C. Williams graduate, Jarreau Williams, as part of the show,” because it aligns so perfectly with our mission.

Volunteer Patty Moran on the ground during the rain helping get cars parked. (Photo: Lucelle O’Flaherty)


Viewing of the show remains available for only $20 until January 31, 2021. Select Watch Now at Complete the survey and you will be entered to win one of three prizes – a staycation at Hotel Indigo, Hyatt Centric or a $50 Gift Card to any ARP Restaurant.

ICYMI: Animal Welfare League of Alexandria Celebrates 40,000 Pounds of Donations

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

Related Articles

Back to top button