By this hour, your New Year’s Eve plans are likely starting to come together. For those taking part in First Night celebrations across the country, tonight will be filled with music, dancing, art and performances. Started in Boston in 1975, First Night was created by a group of artists searching for a way to ring in the new year in a way that celebrated arts and culture. First Night celebrations have since spread throughout the country, with nearly 50 cities hosting their own events as of 2014.
In Chicagoland, First Night Evanston began celebrating the New Year in 1992 and regularly attracts crowds of 4000 people each December. For the past two years, Busy Beaver has worked with First Night Evanston has created commemorative buttons to serve as admission tickets for the event.
Emily Guthrie, First Night Evanston president, explained that using buttons instead of a traditional ticket means that the button serves multiple purposes. “The button is worn on the lapel of a coat, [is] easy to spot and keep track of.” Emily continued, “We like the buttons because they’re much sturdier than a paper ticket. They serve to advertise the event in advance and afterward. They are colorful and collectible.”
Guests can purchase buttons in advance at locations around the city, or at the door on the day of the event. They can even be purchased in person from Emily herself! “I know I usually wear one on my jacket and on my hat and keep several in a pocket so that when people spot them and ask where to buy them, I can sell them on the spot. I’ve done it many times,” she said.
The party continues into the month of January as well. “The past 2 years we have worked with local businesses to add value to the admission button beyond the single day of the event by encouraging our audience members to wear their button into the cooperating businesses during the month of January,” Emily explained. “Those businesses provide a discount on purchases or other items of value,” Emily said. Backrim text on the button reminds guests to redeem the discounts throughout the month.”
By changing up the design from year to year, guests have been collecting First Night Evanston buttons for years, and Emily reported that “our local historical society has a complete collection in her files.” Plans for next year’s design are already in the works– “Next year I’m hoping we can do the glow in the dark buttons. I think that would be a fun surprise for the audience to discover that when they are outdoors, they are glowing from the lapel’s button.”
Here’s to ringing in the New Year in button style!