And the last shall be first! First Night Buffalo celebrates the last night of the old year, and the celebration in downtown Buffalo grows ever more lavish. There’s no booze, so you can drive, take the kids and be up the next morning bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to welcome 2013.

First Night takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, with dozens of entertainers vying for your attention. Watch for Bubblemania, bubble art that includes, but is not limited to, people enclosed by life-size bubbles. And the Red Trouser show, full of acrobatic and sometimes airborne derring-do.

Terry Buchwald, the region’s premier Elvis, will be paying tribute to the King. Wacky Chad and Nels Ross are both entertainers who divert crowds with comedy, stunts and offbeat performance art. Wade Live welcomes the New Year with magic and illusion. A Skyhunters Birds of Prey show allows you to observe hawks, eagles and owls, up close and personal, swooping down before your eyes.

Other attractions include a scavenger hunt, Laser Tag, a Toddler Zone, amusement rides, an art and poetry gallery and, ahem, health screenings, for those who want to get a jump on a sober January.

After the party, proceed to the city’s famed ball drop and fireworks, taking place at Roosevelt Plaza, by the Electric Tower. The entertainment starts at 10:30 p.m.

Tickets for First Night are $8 advance (Wegmans); $10 at the event. Free parking is available at a host of auto ramps near the Convention Center. Metro Rail will also be running, with the last train leaving downtown at 2 a.m. Riders may park free at the Park and Ride locations on South Campus and by the LaSalle Street station.

For more information on First Night Buffalo, visit, or call 635-4959.

– Mary Kunz Goldman