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New Year's Eve in Palm of Your Hand

Middletown's first-ever New Year's Eve celebration introduces an app so you can plan your way through 100 performances.

Middnight on Main is looking to give First Night Hartford a run for its money.

After 23 years of the capitol city’s reign over New Year’s Eve city-wide bashes, a group of Middletown folks spearheaded a celebration of its own.

Sponsored by the Community Health Center, the city of Middletown and many others, the nine-hour, alcohol-free family event features 100 performers in 12 venues spread out over four downtown blocks.

“We’re trying to redefine and reinvent what First Night and New Year’s Eve Day celebrations have been,” said Community Health Center CEO Mark Masselli. “I think we struck a nice balance.”

With headliners like SteveSongs, Japanese Taiko drumming, Barefoot Truth, and Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, cooking classes, film screenings, comedy, contra dance, zydeco, poetry, ice sculpture, roller skating and more — you’d be forgiven for being overwhelmed.

So today, a free, jazzy new app for iTunes and Android was introduced.

“It’s a great way to navigate a very complicated evening,” Masselli said.

Indeed. The app is — well, genius.

“This is the first world-class app in the world of First Nights,” he explained excitedly.

Masselli acknowledges people find the evening’s panopoly of offerings a tad off-putting — especially for parents who want to take in a film noir and the kids who want to see a break dance demo.

“You can build a schedule: it’s so nice,” Masselli said. “It breaks down performers by genre and each is listed with a photo. You can map yourself to that performance, put it right into your schedule. No matter when you do it, it’s chronological and lines them up: 2, 5 and 6 [p.m.] and prompts you.”

And although there will be a colorful brochure available as well onsite, with the app, Masselli said, “You don’t have to carry around paper [unless you are] technically challenged.”

On Dec. 31, there will be Tweets of performances coming up, Masselli said. “So you can see, ‘oh, they’re slamming over there,’” and head over.

The live Twitter feed and a GPS-enabled walking guide will make it easy to navigate from venue to venue. Event goers can download the free app now to start receiving important updates as they happen.

“The app is really quite elegant it allows you to move through it nicely,” he explained. It even offers where goods restaurants are in town.

“The program committee, they’re all geniuses,” Masselli said. “They struggled and battled for each performer, [deciding] who would really strike a chord among a group of people of different ages.” And they came up with “a really eclectic selection of performers,” Masselli said.

Fireworks will go off at 6 p.m. on Main Street so young kids can enjoy them. These are no ordinary pyrotechnics.

“They’re a new type that’s sometimes used indoors in places like Las Vegas,” Masselli said, “called ‘close proximity,’ which disintegrate,” as opposed to aerial shells.

Additional features of the Middnight app include a homepage countdown clock, a full listing of the evening’s events; a “MySchedule” function; push notifications; a GPS-enabled parking lot locator; and event map that provides a quick glance at button sales locations, venue locations, performance times, parking, bus stops, ATMs and more.

Users will receive push notifications on the night of the event, 15 minutes prior to each performance or activity that is saved to MySchedule as a reminder that the event is starting.

The app can be downloaded by visiting Middnight.org and clicking on the links provided on the home page. Apple iPhone users can get the app here; Android phone users can download the app here.

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