continued R5 will perform on the main stage at 9 p.m. Monday, following opening sets by Mathews and NameSake. The live music starts at 6 p.m. with Mother Cover, a Chicago combo that covers alternative rock songs from the 1990s. After R5’s 9 p.m. set, Utica rockers Gridley Paige will play originals and songs by artists ranging from Neil Diamond to Nickleback.
Mathews, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Alexandria, La., made his national television debut in 2010 as a contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Just 18 at the time, Mathews advanced to the finals that year with his renditions of the songs “Over the Rainbow,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” and “Show Me What I’m Looking For.” After performing “What a Wonderful World,” he was edged out of the finals by Mississippi singer Michael Grimm.
Aside from the live entertainment, this year’s First Night features food and soft drinks, a Family Dance Party with Sunny 102 DJ Steve Kelley, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, a balloon launch, a McDonald’s Family Zone, video games and an orange ball drop at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks will be presented by Wegmans.
Tickets cost $5 in advance at Wegmans, or $8 at the gate. Children ages 5 and younger will be admitted free. Attendees will arrive at Onondaga Lake Park via free shuttle buses after leaving their vehicles in Destiny parking lots on the south side of the mall. For information, call Carrie Wojtaszek at Galaxy Events at 471-9597, or visit firstnightcny.com.