A festive start to 2016 is planned downtown New Year’s Eve as First Night Westport rings out the “old” with an array of attractions and rings in the “new” with a pyrotechnical blast.

The Thursday evening slate of events — running from 3 to 10 p.m. at venues around downtown — hits a midpoint highlight, literally, as fireworks erupt over the Saugatuck River at 7:30 p.m. (The fireworks, which traditionally end the First Night celebrations, had to moved to an earlier hour because of tidal considerations for the barge, which serves as the launching pad.)

Plenty of other attractions are planned to welcome 2016, ranging from music of all kinds and dancing, to comedy and storytelling, magic and ventriloquists, balloons and inflatable rides, star-gazing, horse-drawn carriage rides, a host of child-friendly activities at Saugatuck Elementary School and a large bonfire on Jesup Green.

A complete schedule of events for First Night Westport 2016 is online here: http://bit.ly/1TfsmAj

First Night buttons for admission to all events — costing $15 each — can be purchased at venues on New Year’s Eve, as well as in advance at the following locations: Saugatuck Sweets, 575 Riverside Ave.; Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Ave.; Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place; Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road; Trader Joe's, 400 Post Road East; Oscar's Deli, 159 Main St., and Weston Hardware, 190 Weston Road, Weston.

For details about First Night Westport 2016, visit firstnightww.com.