Here are more write-ups and interviews for
First Night Sandwich
2015 & 2016
These 10 Towns In Massachusetts Have The Most Spectacular New Year Celebrations - Sandwich is #1!
Listen to our November interview with Matt Pitta of Cape Cod Broadcasting here.
Read about First Night Sandwich 2017 in the following news media:
In Sandwich, Giants light up the holidays
By Rob Duca - Globe Correspondent December 12, 2015
Michael Magyar’s angels commemorate two Sandwich teenagers who died.
SANDWICH — They are impossible to miss during the holiday season if you’re driving through downtown Sandwich and along The Old King’s Highway, more commonly known as Route 6A. The massive steel sculptures, stationed in front of local businesses, schools, churches, and libraries, glow in the night with brightly colored Christmas lights. A lobsterman, a fire truck, a chef, a sand dollar, a juggler, a pair of angels, a spotted cod, a gardener, and a crow are a sampling of the 34 that are on display from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.
There is also a glassblower, which is how the sculptures now known as “The Giants” began nearly 20 years ago. It was glass artist and sculptor Michael Magyar’s first creation in 1996. Fashioned from rebar iron, Magyar placed the 12-foot-high display outside his business, The Glass Studio of Cape Cod.
“I used to hang a two-story Christmas tree against the house,” he says. “It was a lot of work. So I thought, instead of a giant tree I’ll make a glassblower. Three years later I designed a baseball player down the street to honor Ted Williams, and then I thought, wouldn’t be it be fun to keep doing a new one every year.”
Magyar has since built nearly 60 Giants. The process of creating a Giant begins with a pencil drawing. Magyar then lays out the metal, cutting and bending different shapes from 20-foot steel rods. Once he begins the molding process, he says “The Giants come alive.” Lighting the Giants is left up the individual owners.
There are now Giants in Dennis, Barnstable Village, Hyannis, and Mashpee, and also on the front lawns of a handful of private residences. But it’s in Sandwich, which bills itself as “Town of the Giants,” where they are most populous. Magyar’s figures play a prominent role in the town’s First Night celebration. His “First Light” display showing a Christmas tree embedded with a whale, a dolphin, a shark, a tuna, a jellyfish, and a scallop is placed outside Sandwich Town Hall.
The journey of the Giants begins on entering Sandwich on Route 6A, where visitors are greeted by a pair of angels that honor the memory of Maggie Smilley and Jeff Hayes, two teenage residents who died a few years ago.
One after another, the eight- to 23-foot-tall Giants light the way through the town. A firefighter holds a hose at the Sandwich Fire Station; a man tosses numbers into the air at an accountant’s office; and a baseball player swings a bat in front of a sports memorabilia shop.
A short detour into the town center reveals a rainbow dove at a church, a stick figure holding aloft an open book in front of the local library, and Old Man Winter braving the cold at The Weather Store.
Circle back onto Route 6A and more Giants appear. Peter Rabbit welcomes visitors to the Green Briar Nature Center Jam Kitchen; a man holds up a lobster at Salty Lou’s; a gardener pours water at Scenic Roots; Colonial Man stands straight and firm at Titcomb’s Bookshop; a worker holds up a wrench at Canning’s Service Center; and a crow hangs suspended in midair at Crow Farm.
Calendars with photos of the Giants and a map displaying their locations are being sold in many Sandwich stores.
Magyar shakes his head when he thinks of what his original glassblower inspired.
“The number of Giants now on display hit me like a ton of bricks two years ago. I thought, Oh my gosh, what did I do?” he says. “It’s humbling to know that people love it and that it’s now part of the community.”
First Night organizers aim to add fireworks to event
By George Brennan
Posted Nov. 4, 2015 at 2:00 AM
Updated at 6:34 AM
SANDWICH — Organizers of a First Night celebration in Sandwich are looking to give the annual event some pop by adding fireworks.
“Every year we want to add another feature or excitement,” said Paula Johnson, one of the co-chairmen on the organizing committee. “It will be a small display in scale with the village.”
The committee is going before the Board of Selectmen at 7 p.m. Thursday at Sandwich Town Hall to ask for permission for the Dec. 31 display.
This would be the fourth year of the First Night event, which runs from 4 to 9 p.m. and is geared toward family entertainment.
In the case of the fireworks, it’s a comeback of sorts. The town used to hold an annual fireworks display over Shawme Pond for the Fourth of July, but that practice stopped in 1979, according to Times archives. “The town used to do them right in the village,” Johnson said. “We’re bringing back something we’ve had before."
The $6,000, 10-minute display is being paid for by Sandwich Community Television, she said. Johnson is the executive director of the organization that records local government meetings and features locally produced shows. “It makes sense for us because we’re a visual entity,” she said.
The plan, according to the application filed with the town, is for Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group of New Hampshire to light off the display from Old Town Cemetery on Grove Street. The display will be visible from the area of Town Hall where the First Night event traditionally comes to a close at 9 p.m.
“This is something we’d like to do every year,” Johnson said.
Jonathan Shaw, who lives in the village, said he likes the idea, calling Shawme Pond an idyllic setting. “It sounds like a wonderful idea,” he said. His words of caution: Make sure it doesn’t become so elaborate that it attracts a crowd that's too large.
Fire Chief William Carrico has signed off on the permit. “They’re a very reputable, very responsible company,” Carrico said of Atlas PyroVision. “I’ve had no issues with them.”
Along with the possibility of fireworks, organizers are expanding the fairy garden, bringing back a skating rink, and adding more entertainment, Johnson said. “We have some other surprises as well,” she said.
Local First Nights offer family-friendly fun for New Year's
By Molly Clark
Thursday, December 17th
For fairy-tale magic – Sandwich, Mass.: The town's fourth annual First Night celebration is truly an acknowledgement of town pride. This year's theme, "Town of Giants," is a tribute to artist Michael Magyar's 36 lighted sculptures (called giants) found on roadsides throughout Cape Cod's oldest town. The celebration will be centrally located around Sandwich Village and include ice skating for kids, jazz and blues performances, a Resolution Wall, fairy garden and Reveler's Parade featuring glowing giants. The festival culminates at 9 p.m. with the lighting of a giant lighthouse sculpture complete with giant sparklers. Outdoor events are free, but indoor events require buttons, ($10; $6 age 12 and under; age 3 and under free) which can be purchased at many local businesses and at Sandwich Town Hall the day of the event. For more, visit http://www.firstnightsandwich.com.