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: