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New Year’s fireworks on Boston Harbor at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park and Long Wharf, shown here from a previous year.

Blaming a reduced budget and lack of support, First Night organizer Conventures has canceled the New Year’s 2017 midnight fireworks over Boston Harbor.

First Night 2017 will be a Back Bay-only affair including family fireworks at 7pm on Boston Common. Live entertainment and other activities will be at Copley Square including a procession, ice sculptures and pyrotechnics at midnight.

The harbor fireworks have long been a First Night tradition drawing crowds to the waterfront neighborhoods of the North End, Downtown, East Boston and Seaport /  South Boston.

Event organizer Conventures told waterfront entities they currently do not have enough financial support to justify the barge-based harbor fireworks.

It is not clear whether funds raised from waterfront businesses will be returned or used for other First Night activities in Back Bay. The harbor fireworks have traditionally been a draw for New Year’s Eve packages at waterfront hotels, restaurants and cruise ships.

Boston was the first city to organize First Night as an alternative way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. This year’s event is a shadow of years past where arts and cultural performances would be featured throughout the city. Patrons would buy a First Night button for entry to view various displays and activities attracting participation by over a thousand artists.

In 2006, an estimated one million people attended First Night events citywide including the harbor fireworks. First Night has been scaled down to a Back Bay centric event in recent years without the arts and cultural participation of Boston’s other neighborhoods. Conventures estimated 30,000 came to Copley Square last year where the event is televised on WBZ-TV/CBS.

Here is a previous year’s video of the NYE fireworks over Boston Harbor:


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16 COMMENTS

  1. Too bad to its being squeezed in one littlecarea of the city, copley square!!!! The waterfront is far more beautiful area for fireworks events. Do conventures have an ad c itional business interest in copley area?

    • I am really saddened to hear that they moved the fireworks. The Harbor is a beautiful place for the fireworks. New Year’s Eve will NOT be the same.

  2. Very sad how we started this years ago and now the money is going to different places funny right yep people are getting richer and we are getting to see less the new north end style sad

    • I believe the problem lies with the people who took over the organization of the event. Conventures should be embarrassed as to what they have done to First Night Boston in general, not just the fireworks. I , for one, plan on contacting the Mayors office and complaining about Conventures, and urge others to do the same.
      Worcester First Night is having many performers and kids activities starting at 4 PM. Not the same as what Boston used to do , pre-Conventures, but much better than what is going on now.

  3. Another spiteful move by Marty’s friends. As long as it looks good for TV forget about the waterfront residents. Remember this is the guy who took “no opinion” when everyone else came out against the destructive lewis wharf hotel.

  4. What a disgrace!!!!!
    Boston trying to become a “world class city” with all the multi million dollar luxury condos , apartment complexes, business buildings all being contracted to occupy before they can finish building them.
    And you’re telling us there is no money to fund New Year’s Eve fireworks on the harbor which has been a tradition for as long as I can remember.
    Instead of just giving these contractors tax breaks, etc to build, why not have them give back to the city and fund some of these traditions slowly disappearing.

  5. These contractors that the men having bills all these things around the city of Boston have plenty of millions they should be paying and putting on the biggest fireworks display around shame on the city of Boston

  6. We have been coming in and staying at the Marriott for the last 6 years because the fireworks were right there. Today, we decided since we do not have the fire works at the hotel were staying at a cost of $540 for the room and $60 for the parking we are canceling. This equals to 3 couples. We are going to cancel our reservations and stay local in Framingham. Boston’s loss, we will not be spending our money on Hotel, Restaurants, café Victoria and of course shopping.

  7. yet they continue to raise taxes and put restrictions on everything. They allow parking companies to gouge the heck out of everyone, valets to interfere with even a quick stop for shopping, but no… they can’t find enough money for one night’s tradition. They don’t encourage participation. It’s more like this company CONventures is charging too much for the service and not enough going into the event. It feels like First night is becoming just another day where everyone raises their prices x4 for nothing new. As long as the money is flowing into the city coffers, people don’t matter. World class city? HA!

  8. I THINK ITS TIME TO VOTE MARTY WALSH OUT

    I DONT LIKE HIM ANYMORE

    THOUGH ALSO – MAYBE SOME OF YOU RICH PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN TOWN AND OWN COMPANIES

    WHY DONT YOU PEOPLE GIVE BACK TO THE CITY AND GIVE SOME OF YOUR MULTI MILLION DOLLARS TO

    SAVE FIRST NIGHT?

    EVER THOUGHT OF THAT>??? STOP RUNINING EVENTS FOR EVERYONE DUE TO “LACK OF BUDGET”

  9. First night was pretty sad this year. If you went to Copley for the fireworks, they were hard to see because it was like being in the first row of a movie theater. You had to walk through a mud pit to see the ice sculptures. It was a really pathetic display for a major city like Boston. I feel like each year it gets worse and worse. I go every year and this one was the worst one yet.

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