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Your time: First Night, Northampton

  • Crowds let out of the Academy of Music after the first round of performances for First Night Northampton on Monday.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • (Seated on floor) Ellen Ginsburg, left, and Nika Schenker.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • First Night Circus audience<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Sonya Busi, left, and Susan Breines.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Henry Wheaton and Clara LaFrance.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Daytime Main Street crowd.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Carissa Dagenais and Jason Czernich<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • First Night Parade lead by Found Sounds, left, and Hooping Harmony.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Gwynne Flanagan and Jack Mattison.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Eric Koloski.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Ines Arrubla Flamenco
  • Kinetic State Youth Ensemble
  • Ray Mason
  • Main Street
  • Andrew Meyer, Alex Meyer, Downey Meyer
  • Andrew Meyer, Alex Meyer, Downey Meyer
  • Jamie Kent and the Options
  • Henry the Juggler (a.k.a. Henry Lappen), audience volunteer
  • Rio Santos
  • (Seated on floor) Ellen Ginsburg, left, and Nika Schenker.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • First Night Parade lead by Found Sounds, left, and Hooping Harmony.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • (Seated on floor) Ellen Ginsburg, left, and Nika Schenker.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • First Night Parade lead by Found Sounds, left, and Hooping Harmony.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

For the 28th year, people of all ages hit the streets in downtown Northampton for the annual First Night festivities. More than 75 acts entertained crowds at 20 locations during celebrations that spanned 12 hours.

First Night Circus started the day with a performance at the Northampton Center for the Arts, followed by a family parade down Main Street.

Dancers from a dozen groups took the stage at the Academy of Music, offering ballet, modern, line and flamenco performances.

Family entertainment, with the likes of Henry the Juggler — aka Henry Lappen of Amherst — drew hundreds to the Center for the Arts.

“I love the space,” said Lappen, adding that he has played First Night for about a decade. “We get a lot of people in. The more the merrier.”

The Nields gave a show for children at The First Churches. The singer-songwriter duo encouraged the audience to participate by inviting them onstage to sing along.

As she watched her daughter Rio move to the music, Tonia Santos of Northampton said her family has enjoyed First Night every year.

“We look forward to it,” she said. “The girls get excited. It has a family focus.”

With the event’s future uncertain in the wake of the Center for the Arts’ recent announcement that it can no longer sponsor First Night, some participants said they worried that this might have been the last one in Northampton. Others said that perhaps it was time for new people and organizations to step up and fill the gap.

“It’s sad,” said Lappen. “If there’s a committee that forms, I’ll join it.”

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