Congratulations to the winner of the 2017 First Night Carlisle Button Contest, 9-year-old Xavier Campbell of Crestview Elementary! Xavier ALSO won the People’s Choice Award.

Kudos to our runners-up, Sydney Rohrer, 10, Prince Mitchell, 7 and Prudence Richardson, 7 and all the children that shared their memories with us in such creative ways.

First Night Carlisle and the Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS) partner to host the “Making a Memory” children’s art exhibit for the First Night Button Contest.

Carlisle, PA – Opening August 11, with a public reception on August 12 from 5–7pm, First Night Carlisle will present a student art exhibit, “Making a Memory,” in the G.  B. Stuart History Workshop from August 11–13. This exhibit showcases student pieces submitted for entry in the annual First Night Carlisle Button Design Competition. The History Workshop is located on High Street next to the CCHS’s History on High: the Shop at 33 West High Street, Carlisle, PA, with off-street parking available in the rear of the building.

For the volunteer board members of First Night Carlisle, these pieces of art are both a critical part of the yearly theme and a way to gauge continuing interest in the yearly festival. First Night’s current director, Amy Routson, noted, “First Night Carlisle is a celebration of both the arts and our community, and the annual button contest brings the two together in a great way. By celebrating children and their creativity, and involving the families of those children, we’re actively promoting the future of the arts in our community.It’s also a lot of fun for us to be able to showcase all of the entries and to imagine them as the art that will be featured on this year’s New Year’s Eve button.”

This year’s event theme, “Making a Memory,” emphasizes the range of ages and diversity of the people who attend the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the Cumberland Valley. “Now more than ever, Carlisle is a reflection of our increasingly diverse world,” says Routson, a graduate of Carlisle high school. “Whether you were born here and have lived here all your life, or came here for school or work and chose to stay as so many have, you know Carlisle is a special place, with a little something for everyone. Where else can you get such a hometown feel, with the charm of the art scene on Pomfret Street, plus the educational and historical richness of Dickinson College, the Army War College and Army Heritage Center, and the Cumberland County Historical Society, all in one town? Not to mention the wide range of ethnic culinary delights downtown!”

The art show wouldn’t be possible without the partnership of the CCHS, who is graciously providing their new G.B. Stuart History Workshop as space for the exhibit and reception. First Night Carlisle received 80 button contest entries, and each entry will be hung by volunteers in the Workshop prior to the show.

Located on High Street next to History on High: the Shop, the Workshop offers free workstation crafts, a storytelling nook, the G.B. Stuart History Lab, and a live fish exhibit featuring real critters from the Conodoguinet and Yellow Breeches creeks. The Workshop is recommended for ages 3–13, but children of all ages can find ways to interact. The G.B. Stuart History Workshop’s normal hours of exploration are: Thursday and Friday 10am–4pm and Saturdays from 10am–2pm. Friday hours are extended until 7pm for the August 12 reception for the Annual First Night Button Contest.

For this year’s contest, the student artists were asked to create colorful, circular images, expressing their take on what Carlisle’s New Year’s Eve event and the idea of “making a memory” meant to them. The results of their work show colorful and nuanced button ideas, reflecting town icons, activities with family, friends and pets, and scenes that offer us a special glimpse into their favorite memories.

During the course of the August 11-13 show, visitors will be able to cast their vote for the “People’s Choice” award. The People’s Choice winner will automatically become one of the five finalists in the competition for the official button, and the First Place winner’s art will become the button for admission to all of this year’s First Night Carlisle events. The winner also receives a family pack of tickets to First Night Carlisle, a scholarship to art camp at the Carlisle Arts Learning Center, and they will be featured at midnight as the symbolic “detonator” of the drop and fireworks display.

Established in 1998, and originally modeled after a national organization, First Night Carlisle has blossomed into a uniquely Carlislian festival, celebrating music, the arts, family, and our community. The enthusiasm of our generous and loyal supporters has allowed us, over the past decade and a half, to take the event from a handful of hopeful art-loving people celebrating together, to a multi-cultural, diverse crowd of thousands of individuals from all walks of life, representing all age groups, enjoying first class music and ringing in the new year together. Music, art, and JOY are interwoven across the evening in gorgeous historical venues throughout our lovely downtown.

For information about First Night Carlisle, please contact:

Amy Routson

Phone: 717-448-1471


For information about the Cumberland County Historical Society and G.B. Stuart History Workshop, please contact:

Jason Illari, Executive Director, Cumberland County Historical Society

Phone: 717-249-7610