Submitted by Jayray and EnJoy Productions

Colorful, musical and one of the region’s only events that’s family friendly all the way to midnight, First Night Tacoma will mark its 25th year as downtown Tacoma’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Thousands of people attend First Night Tacoma, enjoying live music, kid-friendly performers, street artists and more throughout Tacoma’s walkable downtown. The evening ends with a countdown and fire spectacular with fire-dance troupe Pyrosutra at 11:50 p.m.

The World’s Shortest Parade kicks off the evening at 6 p.m.

Each First Night is unique from the year before. This year’s featured spectacle is the Iditarace. Teams of human-powered “dogsleds” will race 400 yards to the finish line—all to welcome 2018 as the Year of the Dog.

Admission is free for all outdoor events. Admission to indoor venues requires a button, available for $12 presale, $15 on Dec. 31. Children age 10 and under are free.

Your First Night button also gets you free admission on December 31 to the Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass and the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. Various businesses also offer discounts with your First Night button; check the website for updates on special deals.

Get to Tacoma early and enjoy family-oriented activities during the day, including:

• Hands-on workshops at the Museum of Glass. Make a fused glass snowflake ornament and “Countdown Coneheads” New Year’s hats and noisemakers.

• The 22nd annual Model Train Festival at the Washington State History Museum.

• An extra dose of silliness at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, where you can make your own musical shaker and use it during the staff-led dance party every hour.

Visit Travel Tacoma for more information about Tacoma’s lively arts scene and other local activities. Make it a full New Year’s Eve weekend in Tacoma. Travel Tacoma can help you build your itinerary and find lodging close to all the holiday happenings.

More about IDITARACE!

A Human-Powered Iditarod – IDITARACE! – will be the featured Spectacle at First Night Tacoma 2018. Teams from schools, companies, non-profits and community organizations throughout the city will compete in a hilarious, treacherous 400-yard race with 4-6 people pulling one person in a “sled” of any kind! The top three teams win big prize dollars for the charity of their choice.

This delightful community event is sponsored by South Sound Together. Only 24 teams will be allowed to compete. Register your team and name your beneficiary!

First Night is Piece County’s iconic, family-friendly New Year’s Eve festival, attended by over 20,000 annually, making it the biggest New Year’s Eve event on the West Coast. Every year the festival is associated with an animal from the Chinese Zodiac – this is the Year of the Dog. Iditarace is the human-powered version of the famous Alaskan Iditarod dogsled race. The community is jumping in to get involved in a fun, athletic, creative and inspiring competition as the centerpiece of the festival.

At 9:00 p.m. in the center of the First Night activities, competing teams will be lined up at 9th and Commerce to begin the timed heats. Festival goers will line up to cheer them along the 400-yard route, up 9th, then up Saint Helens to the finish line at Market.

The IDITARACE is designed to bring together diverse groups from throughout the city. Like First Night itself, it is a family-oriented opportunity for parts of our community that don’t normally intersect to gather, have fun together, and in this case, compete for prize money to support local charities. Not only the fast teams will win: there will be consolation prizes for Best Design, Best Spirit and Slowest Sled (the coveted “Doghouse” Award).

Anyone can form a team, and any non-profit can be named as beneficiary. It’s a great chance to give your own organization a shout out, as well as a local charity.

To register, go to or call Kevin Joyce at 206-818-8136.

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