First Night creeping up on Swampscott

Mack Ralbovsky, lead venomous keeper with Rainforest Reptile Show, will be showing off snakes and other reptiles at First Night Swampscott.


SWAMPSCOTT — Residents won’t need to travel to Boston for a family-friendly New Year’s Eve experience, as First Night Swampscott will deliver on entertainment.

First Night Swampscott, based on the popular event in Boston, will begin Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. at Swampscott High School.

“When my kids were young, we always went into Boston for First Night,” said Danielle Strauss, recreation director. “Over the years, I’ve heard people don’t want to leave town for events … I decided I wanted to do a First Night event so people could just spend the night in Swampscott.”

There will be performances from three acts, Chinese acrobat Anna Lee, Abracadabra Magic and Rainforest Reptile Show. New Year’s Eve themed crafts, face painting and a photo booth will also be featured.  


At 6 p.m., a countdown will commence and balloons will be dropped from the second floor.

Joan Gallagher, president of Rainforest Reptile Shows, said Mack Ralbovsky, lead venomous keeper, is doing the presentation for their act. She said the presentation will include a large snake, an alligator, a large lizard and tortoise. People would be able to get up close and personal with the animals. A miniature zoo will also be on display, which includes bugs, frogs, toads and lizards.

“Not only do the kids have fun with it, but they actually learn,” Gallagher said. “It’s a great way to start the new year.”


Strauss said Town Meeting approved an event budget last year, allowing her to start the new tradition, as she plans on continuing First Night in the future. She expects at least 500 people.

“I just think it’s a good place to come and spend time with your kids and your family in a warm environment,” she said.

Tickets are $10 for a family of four or less and $5 for additional members. All proceeds go back into the town’s recreation budget for future events. Tickets are available at swampscottrec.com.

Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley

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