As 2019 came to a close, thousands of residents around Cortland County gathered around the Clocktower building at the intersection between Main St. and Port Watson St in Cortland to ring in the New Year at the annual First Light celebration on 12/31.
Sponsored by McNeil and Company Inc., guests celebrated the New Year with friends and family as they watched the ball drop from the top of the Clocktower building into the new decade. The streets were occupied with guests as they eagerly counted down the seconds to midnight. Kazoos and noise makers made the excitement of the new year come together.
Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin played a big role at last night's First Light event. Here is a video of his introduction to last night's event:
“I love First Light and this community!” said Lisa from Cortland, “I love how they celebrate the holidays and other events and it’s really cool!”
The annual event was made possible this year by Timothy A. Bennett, this year's event planner of the First Light event. Bennett acquired First Light and two other Cortland County events (Chill-A-Bration and Taste of Cortland) from the Cortland Downtown Partnership, as they announced in early 2019 they wouldn’t be able to hold the events anymore.
For First Light, Bennett partnered with FunFlicks and the Cortland Voice with a goal in mind: To make the event memorable and to celebrate what the year 2019 was and what the year 2020 will be. His goal was successful, as many residents attended the event and had a great time!
While this year’s First Light was the first time for some residents, others have come back to celebrate it as a yearly tradition. Ed and his son Christian from Homer have attended the event on and off for 5 years. Their overall experience has been amazing. “I remember the first time my son saw the ball drop. He was really excited about it!”.
To wrap up 2019, FunFlicks provided a huge 21ft inflatable screen that was on display to show messages and photos of Cortland throughout the year. After the exhilarating countdown, guests stayed for the fireworks to end their night.
Here are some more photos of last night's First Light event (All photos are provided by Kaitlyn Hession/Cortland Voice):