Arts & Culture Community

First Night Re-emerges with Parade and Dual Fireworks – 7pm on Common and Midnight on Boston Harbor

Mayor Menino signs a First Night Poster for Melissa Vallejo, 8th grader at the Ohrenberger School. Melissa’s artwork is being used in all of the First Night Buttons. (Photo by Isabel Leon, Mayor’s Office Photography)

News release from the City of Boston and Highland Street Foundation regarding this year’s First Night:

A New Day for First Night

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today unveiled program highlights for this year’s First Night Boston celebration, presented by the City of Boston and presenting partner The Highland Street Foundation. The day-long festival of art, music, dance, sculpture and fireworks will take place once again on December 31. Several corporate partners have come forward to ensure First Night festivities continue.

Mayor Menino at First Night Announcement (Photo by Isabel Leon, Mayor’s Office Photography)

“First Night has its roots in Boston and keeping this tradition alive is so important to our City. It’s a day that welcomes children, families and visitors from all over the region to celebrate our cultural community,” Mayor Menino said. “We’ve got a great line-up to announce today, and will have many more exciting announcements as we draw closer to the 31st.”

All First Night outdoor events will be free, and admission to indoor events will require the purchase of a First Night button. Buttons will cost $10 (children under 4 admitted free) and will be available starting in late November at participating Boston-area CVS Stores. For a complete list of advance sale locations or to buy buttons online, visit Starting on November 29, a new button benefit will be announced daily on Twitter, via @FirstNight.

Featured First Night Boston performances and activities will include:

• Boston Family Fireworks at 7 PM on Boston Common presented by The Mugar Foundation and Boston 4 Productions;
• Midnight Harbor Fireworks presented by State Street Bank;
• Ice sculptures along the Grand Procession route and at Copley Square and other locations throughout the city;
• The Bank of America Grand Procession, bringing new participation from The Gay Pride Parade, marching bands, art cars, and ringing in the new year in a bigger and brighter display than ever before;
• Family Festival at the Hynes Convention Center, featuring headliners Dan Zanes & Elizabeth Mitchell with You Are My Flower, an all-day Puppet Festival presented by the Puppet Showplace Theatre, bicycle and trampoline stunts and much more;
• A stunning projected animation and video installation by Peter Berdovsky – Zebbler Studios that will transform the façade of the Boston Public Library beginning at dusk and culminate in a 10 minute countdown-to-midnight;
• Live Musical Performances by Patti Smith and Her Band, Blind Boys of Alabama, Dean Wareham, Anais Mitchell, Sierra Hull, Family, Dan Zanes & Elizabeth Mitchell with You Are My Flower, Gentlemen Hall, Harrison Quintet;
• A live WGBH “Toast of the Nation” broadcast;
• And much more!

“Highland Street is proud to partner with Mayor Menino to continue the time honored tradition of First Night in the City of Boston,” said Blake Jordan, executive director of The Highland Street Foundation. “We’re looking forward to a special celebration with children, families and all First Night participants.”

In addition to generous support from presenting partner The Highland Street Foundation, major event sponsors include Bank of America, Liberty Mutual, State Street Bank, the Riley Foundation, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, The Mugar Foundation and Boston 4 Productions.

First Night Boston is the country’s oldest and largest New Year’s arts celebration. Founded in 1976, First Night was started by artists who sought an alternative to traditional New Year’s Eve revelry. The celebration has grown from a small arts event centered on the Boston Common to an arts organization that showcases work by local, national and international artists.

First Night attracts crowds greater than 1,000,000, and generates an estimated $47 million in revenue in the City of Boston. The concept that originated in Boston 38 years ago has served as a model for more than 200 similar celebrations worldwide.