It's hard to believe just a couple years ago, rumors were flying about the possible end of First Night Morris.
What a difference a couple of successful years makes.
In anticipation of the 21st First Night Morris, organizers recently announced this year's Board of Trustees for the annual New Years Eve event in Morristown.
"While some First Nights have either disappeared or become a shadow of their former glory, First Night Morris has found a way to keep going and proudly holds the title of New Jersey’s largest First Night celebration," according to a press release. "This annual event provides over 5,000 attendees with an unparalleled value of access to high quality and affordable entertainment and performances at two dozen venues throughout Morristown in an alcohol-free and family-friendly environment."
The event is finding new life under the leadership of second year Chairman Michael Schmidt, according to the release. Schmidt, a Morristown High School grad, attended the event as a child, then performed at First Night. Under Schmidt's leadership, Schlosser said, First Night Morris overcame a deficit of more than $38,000 to break even for the first time in four years, in 2012.
Another change was the addition of fellow Morristown High School graduate Craig Schlosser to the new role of Community Relations Director. Schlosser, who is the executive director of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, spearheaded many of the new initiatives, including the rebranding of the event, marketing, refreshed sponsorship packages, development of the Advisory Board, Battle of the Bands, Community Reinvestment Program and First Dine, drove First Night to achieve its highest revenue in admission sales to date.
Schlosser will return to First Night as Director for 2013 where he will be joined by long-time event manager Brandi Marks, of Full House Events, and Lynn Siebert of the Arts Council of the Morris Area who will again serve as the event’s Artistic Programmer.
“First Night is continually evolving. We are always working towards being better than we are today, in turn making the event the best it can be,” Schmidt said.
To accomplish its mission, according to the press release, First Night relies on loyal sponsors, more than 100 volunteers and its Board of Trustees.
“Last year was a turning point for the organization. We modified our strategy to better meet the needs of the communities we serve throughout Morris County. Most importantly we kept true to the guiding principles and reaffirmed First Night’s place in the community," Schmidt said. "It is a great honor to have the opportunity to lead an event that means so much to so many. We have a duty and responsibility to ensure that we continue to drive the positive growth of
the event and the organization."
Also returning to the board this year is PACC President Robert J. Peluso of Capital One Bank, who will again serve as vice chair and will continue to serve dually as a co-chair of the Advisory Board. Parsippany's Peluso is joined on the Executive Board by fellow Vice Chair Peggy Adams of Morris Plains and second-year Secretary Denise Schmidt, director of career services at the County College of Morris. Treasurer Joseph Vazzano is new this year to the Executive Board.
Rounding out returning Board Members are former Councilman Richard Tighe and Lisa Konefal of Networth Management.
For more information about First Night Morris visit firstnightmorris.com.