Fireworks over Alexandria waterfront from roof of The George Washington Masonic National Memorial. (Photo:  Wayne Hulehan)

Despite frigid temperatures, Alexandria held the Washington, DC metropolitan area’s largest family-friendly, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve party in Old Town and Del Ray.

This year’s event featured 150 performances at 22 indoor venues in Old Town and an old-fashioned carnival at the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center in Del Ray. There was something for everyone with face painting and children’s games at The George Washington Masonic National Memorial; the Battle of the Stars performances at the Durant Center and a performance by the Irish Breakfast Band at the Lyceum.

The party began at 2:00 p.m. with the Fun Hunt. After the Fun Hunt, former Alexandria Mayor Kerry Donley said farewell to First Night Executive Director Ann Dorman who is retiring after 16 years. Former Congressman Jim Moran also said farewell to Dorman at the Durant Center before the Battle of the Stars and his granddaughter’s performance.

This year’s Battle of the Stars was special as T. C. Williams High School alum singer/song writer Keira Moran returned to perform as the night’s headliner and to mentor contestants. She held a mentoring session for the five finalists on Dec. 30, teaching them about stage presence and coaching them on other aspects of their performances. This year’s winner was Beatheads, who took home a $500 contract to perform at First Night 2018. Other finalists included: Clefs of Apollo; The Williams Sisters; Mia Humphrey and the judges’ choice performer was Emily Mitchell.

Keira Moran performs six of her songs with T.C. Williams orchestra. (Photo: Wayne Hulehan)

After the contestants’ performances, Keira performed six original songs with the 22-piece T. C. Williams orchestra. The performance was recorded and will become Keira’s latest CD, with all proceeds going to the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria.

Keira now lives in Los Angeles where she works with singer/song writer RedOne. “Although being a songwriter means that I work in Los Angeles now, Alexandria is my home and it is very rewarding to give back to the community that has given me so much,” Keira said.

As always, the evening ended at midnight with a fireworks extravaganza over the Potomac.


First Night Alexandria 2018