Burlington, Vt. Rings in 2020 with ‘Highlight'

The event brought arts, comedy, family activities, fireworks, and other events to the city

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Vermont’s largest city celebrated New Year’s Eve with Highlight, which presents more than 40 events and activities throughout Burlington.

Highlight presents concerts, arts activities, comedy shows, fireworks, parades, fire shows, and more.

“I really love to sit and enjoy live music, so I’m excited about that,” said Claire Concannon, who was visiting Burlington from Connecticut with her boyfriend, Jameson Duncan, for the first time.

“My friend has been here a few times, so told me about Church Street and how beautiful it is in the winter,” Duncan told NECN.

Several Highlight attendees remarked they were glad the temperatures weren’t too cold, so it was comfortable to be outside going between venues.

Years when the cold was subzero or just above zero proved to be hugely challenging for the city’s long-running First Night, which had its last hurrah in 2017.

First Night came to an end amid financial struggles brought on by those dangerously cold nights and declining attendance overall, organizers said last year.

The change to Highlight brought ideas for new activities crowd-sourced from the community, as well as an opportunity to target different crowds.

The daytime fun is still family-focused, but at night, there are now adults-only events, noted Alex Lalli of Signal Kitchen, which promotes Highlight along with Burlington City Arts.

“We’re providing the best look we can at the culture and spirit of what Burlington and greater Vermont is,” Lalli said. “It’s wildly creative, amazing people. We’re hoping we can provide a platform they can express themselves on.”

Lalli said based on successful badge sales this year, Highlight should be back to ring in 2021.

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