Bluffs ready for First Night 2010


Bluffs ready for First Night 2010

By Chad Nation, Staff Writer,

Published: Sunday, December 27, 2009 12:22 AM CST

Venues across Council Bluffs will be lit up for First Night on Dec. 31, and a wide range of acts will provide entertainment for all ages.

Bayliss Park will not only feature the exciting climax of fireworks at the stroke of midnight, but will also feature ice sculpture by Michael Hoppe and the IGNITE! Fire Troupe of Minneapolis.

IGNITE! will feature fire hula dancing, fire poi – swinging a chain with balls of fire on both ends – fire twirling with a 5-foot stick  with balls of fire on both ends and even fire eating.

The Masonic Temple, 130 S. Sixth St., will feature face painting from 6 to 9 p.m. and swing band Prairie Cats. The seven-piece Omaha band will make its first appearance at Council Bluffs’ First Night Celebration this year. Its forces include two trumpets, two saxes, guitar, upright bass and drums, with guitarist/bandleader/songwriter Jeff Koterba (“Daddy K”) and bassist Larry Frederickson handling most of the vocals.

If swing music is not your thing, stop into the Masonic Temple in between Prairie Cats sets to see the African Culture Connection. The African Culture Connection, based in Omaha, is a non-profit organization that celebrates through dancing and drumming of African culture, particularly before there was colonization.

The Council Bluffs Public Library, 400 Willow Ave., will feature Kusi Taki, the Amazing Arthur and the Central Iowa Brass.

The Amazing Arthur will dazzle crowds with his unique blend of mentalism, magic, comedy, juggling and much more to entertain audience members of all ages.

Community Hall, 205 S. Main St., will be home to Out of the Fire and Kokyo Taiko. Out of the Fire consists of Council Bluffs natives Rick Spurgin, lead singer and guitarist; his son Jason, bass guitar; and Gary Johnson, drums. Out of the Fire plays a variety of music from the 1970s through today along with original numbers.


Kokyo Taiko, a choreographed Japanese drum group, will explain taiko history, its costumes and equipment and encourage audience participation.

The First Baptist Church, 540 First Ave., will host Susie Thorne and Ruvane Kurland. While growing up in Council Bluffs, Kurland first started to play the piano, then went to strings and horns, and later picked up a guitar. Now living in Columbus, Ohio, Kurland has made quite a name for himself on the music scene and will return to his roots as a performer at First Night.

Kurland’s music is described as mellow groove rock, or acoustic rock, the kind of sound one might hear from the Dave Matthews Band.

With a full band of keyboard, bass, drums and tenor saxophone, jazz singer Thorne will treat audiences to a repertoire from the “Great American Songbook.”

The fun starts Dec. 31 at 6 p.m. at 13 different venues around the Bayliss Park. At 9 p.m., there will be a children’s procession with the main finale held at midnight in Bayliss Park.

First Night buttons, which grant admittance to the events, are $12 each. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Buttons may be purchased at all Bluffs Hy-Vee stores; all Bluffs No Frills locations; Fareway, 310 McKenzie Ave.; all Bluffs Peoples National Bank branches; all Council Bluffs Savings Bank locations; MidStates Bank, 1851 Madison Ave.; all Bluffs Liberty Bank branches; Frontier Savings Bank, 940 Valley View Drive; and the treasurer’s office at City Hall.

Sponsors for First Night include the city of Council Bluffs, Cox Communications, U.S. Cellular, The Daily Nonpareil, John and Linda Allen and Pottawattamie County. For more information, go online to

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