IN HONOR OF FIRST NIGHT WINCHESTER; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 214
(Extensions of Remarks - December 29, 2017)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1761-E1762]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                         HON. BARBARA COMSTOCK

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                       Friday, December 29, 2017

  Mrs. COMSTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize First Night 
Winchester which, for 31 years, has provided the residents of the 
Northern Shenandoah Valley a wonderful way to celebrate New Year's Eve. 
In 1986, Winchester community leader Kathy Nerangis asked other leaders 
to join her in creating a family-friendly, non-alcoholic event, where 
people could congregate to enjoy live performing arts and each other's 
company, as an alternative way of welcoming in the New Year.
  First Night Winchester held its inaugural event on December 31, 1987 
in Old Town Winchester, attracting 1,800 people. Since then, it has 
become a time-honored tradition for many individuals and families to 
make their way down to the center of town to enjoy the peaceful 
atmosphere and good tidings of those who congregate for the special 
occasion. After three decades, those who, as children, enjoyed First 
Night Winchester with their families, are now bringing their own 
children to celebrate and the number of participants has, on occasion, 
reached 10,000.
  Throughout the day, rides are offered on the Shenandoah Valley Gas 
and Steam Engines, the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum is open for 
visits, face painting is offered at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley 
and a live performance of ice sculpting is taking place on the Old Town 
Walking Mall for everyone's enjoyment. Throughout the evening, the many 
downtown Winchester churches and the Handley Public Library house a 
diverse assortment of performers, including jugglers, gospel singers, 
comedians, classical pianists and neo-classical guitarists, magicians 
and blue grass and Delta blues musicians. The evening ends with the 
ushering in of the New Year as all gather to join in the countdown of 
the official ``Apple Drop'' and enjoy the spectacular fireworks that 
  Despite the enrichment to the quality of life that the more than 200 
First Night events provided in the past, First Night Winchester is one 
of only 36 cities that continue this tradition, making it the 5th 
oldest in the nation. Mr.

[[Page E1762]]

Speaker, I ask you to join our colleagues and me, in honoring and 
thanking the visionary leaders of First Night Winchester, whose 
steadfast commitment to improving the quality of life of their northern 
Shenandoah Valley community has resulted in three decades of one of the 
best First Night experiences in the nation and in wishing the wonderful 
board of directors, staff and volunteers of the event, many more years 
of success in the future.