First Night Boston returns to ring in the new year

Posted December 29, 2015 by Brian Keaney in Urban Living
Two straight days of fun don't miss out on the action.

From humble beginnings in 1975, First Night Boston has grown into a beloved tradition for Bostonians of all stripes.  From the young to the old, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The Opening Ceremonies begin at noon on New Year’s Eve in Copley Square.  Most of the festivities over the following two days will take place around Copley, but the full schedule of events has activities in the Prudential Center, the Boston Public Library, the Old South Church, and Copley Place. Other events, displays, and shows can be found on the Boston Common, along the Freedom Trail, and in the Seaport District.

Everyone’s favorite part of the night is the fireworks. Families, or those who have trouble staying awake until midnight, are invited to watch the show on the Boston Common at 7 p.m. A second show kicks off at the stroke of midnight over Boston Harbor.

A new midnight tradition is also born this year. Back in Copley Square, Boston-based band Ripe will headline the Light and Ice Party. The band takes the stage at 8:25, and at the countdown to midnight will take place on the main stage. When the calendar finally flips, Copley Square will be lit up by a pyrotechnics show on the roof of the Fairmont Copley Hotel.

For those needing a ride home after all the champagne has been popped, the T will remain running until approximately 2 a.m. As parking is going to be severely limited, organizers and city officials are encouraging revelers to take public transportation. In an annual tradition appreciated by thousands of First Nighters, the T will stop collecting fares after 8 p.m.

Boston is home to a rich tapestry of ethnic groups, and many will be celebrating at First Night.  The Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association will be hosting several events, including a display of giant puppets and a glittering dragon.  Both will be part of the People’s Procession to Boston Common, where spectators are encouraged to line both sides of Boylston Street and dance. At the end of the procession, everyone is encouraged to join in and venture to the Boston Common for the fireworks display. The Procession leaves Copley Square at 6 p.m.

Music is a big part of First Night, and Boston is no stranger to great live acts. In addition, a comedy show will keep crowds in stitches, the Skating Club of Boston will put on their annual Skating Spectacular, and the arts and crafts will keep the young, and the young at heart, occupied and entertained.

The ice sculptures, a perennial favorite, can be found around the city, provided Mother Nature cooperates. The artists will begin carving their massive blocks of ice on December 30th, and will continue right through until First Night. Of course, there will be plenty of food, and many restaurants are offering special deals to celebrate 2016.

Just because 2015 is ending, that doesn’t mean the fun is. On First Day, January 1st, events begin again at 11 a.m.  Live music, dancing, face painting, and more will take place throughout the afternoon. All events, on both days, are free and open to the public. Happy New Year!