The Star Democrat

First Night Talbot 2022 goes virtual

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EASTON — First Night Talbot 2022 will be virtual again this year, bringing the community a program of sparkling talent by local and regional artists of all ages in an online, overtwo-hour celebratio­n of the arts starting at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

First Night Talbot was started in Easton in 1994 as a drug- and alcoholfre­e event and has relied on grants from Talbot Arts (with funding provided by Maryland State Arts Council), local sponsorshi­ps, and Town of Easton to continue this unique holiday celebratio­n. Created and managed by volun- teers from the community, it is meant to celebrate the arts, culture, and traditions of Talbot County.

Several of the traditions have grown to be the highlights of the night. The Maryland Crab Drop was envisioned and invented by Rich and Suzanne Hood many years ago (inspired by their seeing the “Bermuda Onion” drop); it is now under the care of their son, Lance. That led to the first Mermaid – a giant rolling street puppet which was presented in the town’s 300th anniversar­y parade. She was created by Dragon Wings puppeteers Debra Hathaway and Eric Heath. They also did a couple of great workshops with kids to create sea creature hand puppets and fish hats, which each year become a small parade of revelers marching up to the 9 p.m. Crab Drop, known as “Midnight in the MidAtlanti­c.” The last several years, Maggii Sarfaty has created another huge mermaid, a people-parade sized one, as well as more delightful hand-carried sea creatures. The parade is led bagpiper Randy Welch, and the crowd gathers in advance of the countdown to enjoy fire juggling by Cascading Carlos.

The full performanc­e of the countdown and Crab Drop will be broadcast at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve from an undisclose­d, historic location in Talbot County. Local kids will be the parade.

The entire community is invited to join in online for the only remaining First Night Celebratio­n in the state of Maryland.

The underlying theme this year is to “Celebrate the Arts,” as well as to support and share our “Community Talents and Traditions.”

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