Seeing Vermont artists perform on New Year's Eve has been a Burlington tradition for nearly four decades. It started with First Night Burlington and continues with Highlight, a festival organized by Burlington City Arts, with help from Signal Kitchen.
Yes, Highlight is happening this year, but in 2020, it's all about staying in.
The Highlight House Party kicks off at 1 p.m. on December 31 and winds up at 1 a.m. on January 1, 2021. The lineup includes marquee acts such as Myra Flynn and Swale, along with storyteller Ferene Paris Meyer, family-friendly performers Circus Smirkus and Mister Chris & Friends, and 12-year-old troubadour Charlie Schramm, who recently appeared on WCAX-TV as part of Kids VT's Spectacular Spectacular. The serendipity of what's available is part of the charm.
To join the fun, purchase a $10 ticket at highlightbtv.org and tune in on December 31. Organizers say that, using the viewing platform Run the World, you'll be able to choose from a group of "virtual stages" like flipping channels on your TV.
Here are seven reasons to buy a ticket for this one-of-a-kind virtual bash.
- It's safe. The pandemic is still raging. If ever there were a year to stay home for New Year's Eve, it's this one.
- Raise a glass in the privacy of your own home. Have some Champagne. Pour yourself a flute of sparkling cider. Brew a soothing pot of chamomile tea. Imbibe whatever you want! No one will judge you, no one will bust you, and you don't need a designated driver.
- Highlight is better than what's streaming on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. You've already seen most of it by now anyway, right?
- Fireworks! This year there will be one show, at 8 p.m. on the Burlington waterfront — sponsored by the Pomerleau Family Foundation — and through Highlight you can watch it live on-screen from home. Highlight will replay the pyrotechnics show at midnight.
- You can probably afford it. Tickets are $10 a pop — cheaper than a craft cocktail at pretty much any bar in town.
- You'll be supporting local performers. All the acts get paid. You can even leave donations for them through the streaming platform, like virtually passing the hat.
- You'll get to celebrate with other people, even if only on-screen. The number of attendees and user names will be visible, and, if you choose, you can take part in the online chat. It should at least feel like a crowd. Hopefully next year it will be safe to be part of one again.