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Fifteen thousand came last year.

And 20,000 or more are expected Monday at the second annual First Night Buffalo.

The downtown drug- and alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration of the arts, a resounding success last year, is offering 133 live shows this year.

"It's $5 a button if you buy in advance -- and $6 on First Night," said Donna D. Prybyl of Western New York United Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse, producer of the extravaganza.

This year's New Year's Eve show will feature more than 750 performers at 26 sites in and around Buffalo Place. Last year's show featured 500 performers and 21 sites.

First Night Buffalo runs from 5 p.m. to midnight and will begin with a grand procession of giant puppets, circus performers, bands, stilt walkers and more. The parade down Main Street will start at the north end of Main Place Mall at 5 and stop in front of the Niagara Mohawk Building, where the Peace Child Chorus will sing the official First Night song, "Come Light the Night."

At 10:30 p.m., outside music will begin at the 97 Rock stage outside the Niagara Mohawk Building. Capping the evening is the annual 97 Rock ball drop and fireworks display.

Ms. Prybyl called the program "an explosion of sound and color." Western New York United is producing the event in conjunction with Buffalo Place, the City of Buffalo and other corporate sponsors.

Buffalo is one of 60 cities in the United States and Canada to offer a drug- and alcohol-free celebration on New Year's Eve, she said.

Four new offerings are:

Free taste of the "First Nightcap" from 9:30 to 11:15 p.m. at Melanie's Sweets Unlimited in Theater Place. Revelers can watch the "First Nightcap" being made, then taste it. Free coffee also will be available at Melanie's, courtesy of Ciminelli Construction Co. and Folgers coffee.

First Night Sight and Sound, which features innovative displays throughout Buffalo Place. Among them are luminescent figures, wood and neon sculptures and imagery from the "Nutcracker Suite."

First Night Country, which features performances at Shea's Buffalo Theater by local country bands and dance performances by Buffalo's Lil' Bit of Texas Country Steppers.

Around the World, which features African, Arabic, Caribbean, Latin and other international music in the Atrium of Erie Community College.

Returning are the Kids Korner in the Goldome Center lobby, a creative wonderland for children, who also will enjoy folk songs, music and storytelling at First Night.

Also featured are the Hot, Hot Teen Stage, a high-energy rock show at Main Place, and Swing with 7, dancing to big bands, in Ellicott Square.

"We took the toughest night of the year when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse to show people they can have a good time without alcohol and drugs," Ms. Prybyl said. "They should have a wonderful time at First Night and wake up the next morning feeling great -- a really good start for the New Year."

Judith and D. Ward Fuller are co-chairmen for the event for the second year.

Buttons are available in advance at Tops Friendly Markets and Wilson Farms convenience stores.

Buffalo magazine this Sunday will feature a listing of the 133 events, times and locations, as well as a map.

At the event on New Year's Eve, buttons will be sold from two Buffalo News kiosks, where free copies of the Sunday listings will be available. Buttons also will be available at several other locations during the event.

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