Several hundred people attended Evanston’s First Night festivities, despite the single-digit temperature and biting wind that began heralding the new year early in the day.

The annual family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration featured nationally known musicians, local gems, and some that are both, like Howard Levy.

Jeanne B!, who specializes in entertaining children, is also popular with their parents, and everyone agrees on the universal appeal of the Special Consensus Bluegrass band. Vernon Clark’s gospel choir swayed the audience with their enthusiastic singing.

Magic was in the air, both tricky and whimsical, inviting audience participation across the fourth wall.

No fireworks this year, but those who stayed long enough to welcome 2018 held sparklers on the steps of the First Presbyterian Church.