As far as years go, 2008 is not going to be ranked too highly. It would be best for all concerned if this particular year left as quickly as possible. But to show there are no hard feelings — or not many hard feelings — First Night Saint Louis escorts 2008 out of sight and 2009 into being tonight at Grand Center (North Grand and Lindell boulevards; www.firstnightstl.org). The indoor and outdoor, alcohol-free party offers live performances by theater troupes and musicians, art activities for kids, and a fourteen-foot-tall rabbit covered in glass, mirrors and ceramic tiles. Hypnotist Bryan Imbus can maybe help you forget just how dismal the outgoing year was. If you still can't let it all go, head to Strauss Park and the bonfire, where you can write your regrets on a slip of paper and then throw them into the fire so they go up in smoke. Coffee, hot chocolate and concessions are available along Grand, and there are fireworks displays at 9 p.m. and midnight. First Night Saint Louis opens at 6 p.m., and admission buttons are $4 to $10.
Wed., Dec. 31, 2008