First Night Baraboo

by Teri Barr
December 2018

Gin, Chocolate and Bottle Rockets December 31 @ Baraboo Arts

Gin, Chocolate and Bottle Rockets December 31 @ Baraboo Arts

He can be quiet as a co-worker. But as I’ve learned, if fellow WOLX radio host Jesse Garon isn’t talking while not behind the microphone, it’s probably because he is already planning to make a big splash in another way. I recently learned about one event he is helping master-mind for New Year’s Eve, and it could put this area on the map.

First Night Baraboo will bring together the very best in music, arts, and planned activities for the kids, meaning it is a perfect day and night, for families, and adults. And while the idea is new for the Baraboo area, First Night is not a new idea. It started in Boston in 1975 as an alternative way to celebrate the music scene, and it has grown to locations across the country. Garon’s first experience with a First Night, was the one he helped organize in New York, and he is already feeling good about the plans coming together for Baraboo. “There is so much talent within the community, “ Garon says.  “Known for its music with bands like Phox and entertainers who have traveled the world with the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus. There is so much unique creativity in the community.” But, Garon knows the talent available to him at this moment in Baraboo, is what will make this event a success in its first year.“I don’t think many people realize that the original organizer of the Fall Arts Tour (which covers Baraboo, Spring Green, Dodgeville, Mineral Point) resides in Baraboo (Char Terbeest Kudla). or that musicians like Derek Ramnarace (Old Soul Society) and Shawndell Marks (Gin, Chocolate, and Bottle Rockets) call Baraboo “home,” Garon says.

So he is pulling all those ties together, and the New Year’s Eve celebration will feature Shawndell and Gin, Chocolate, and Bottle Rockets; Derek Ramnarace and Old Soul Society, along with many others. He wants the music, the art, the fun to bring the community together, and if you are only visiting, to make you feel like you belong there.

“For a town with a little more than 12,000 people - that’s pretty darn amazing. You know, when people think of Baraboo they think of Devils Lake State Park, Circus World, the Al Ringling Theatre….but really it’s most amazing quality is its people. This event celebrates those unique and wonderful people of all ages. And our “First Night” is a way to bring all of that together on one very special night,” Garon says.

It sounds like a special night, you’ll want to brag about being part of in years to come. It all happens at the Baraboo Arts Center on December 31st starting at noon. For more info go to

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