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Boylston Street will have busy First Night with procession, new ice sculpture

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  December 28, 2012 03:06 PM

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Bostonians and non-Bostonians alike will soon ring in the New Year with a slew of frosty, fun family celebrations as part of the annual First Night Boston celebrations.

Heading into its 37th year, First Night Boston is set to bring its annual grand procession along Boylston Street, family activities, performances, ice sculptures, and fireworks to downtown Boston and the Waterfront.

“This cherished tradition has undoubtedly become Boston’s way of ringing in the new year,” Geri Guardino, executive director of First Night Boston, said at a Friday press conference on public safety during the New Year’s Eve festivities.

This year, the Back Bay will again see colorful giant puppets at this year’s Grand Procession. The theme, “The Nature of Boston,” will celebrate the natural and manmade elements of the city as the procession marches from Hynes Convention Center to the corner of Charles and Beacon streets starting at 5:30 p.m.

Boylston Street will also host a new center of art and music in the Boylston Plaza at the Prudential Center. For the first time, one of the event's ice sculptures will be placed in the plaza along music performances and light installations. The large sculpture “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” will depict a scene from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia as carved by Donald Chapelle.

The Karmaloop Countdown to Midnight at Copley Square will countdown with a multimedia celebration on the steps of the Boston Public Library. There, DJs and dancers will celebrate with images projected onto the library and a light show.

The downtown areas are not the only neighborhoods that will help create the end-of-year festivities.

Hundreds of children and their families will participate in the grand procession and other performances as part of the First Night’s Neighborhood Network, a community outreach and arts education program that offers year-round, hands-on workshops in Boston’s neighborhoods.

“Look for them. They’ll be everywhere you look on New Year’s Eve,” said Guardino. “They’ll be on stilts in the grand procession or carrying some of their giant puppets that they’ve created; they’ll be on stages dancing, singing, and playing drums at the Hynes Convention Center.”

A total of 200 exhibitions and performances will be held in 35 locations this year and the city plans to put in place various traffic and parking restrictions from Saturday through Tuesday.

City officials are encouraging people to take public transportation when traveling into and around the city. The MBTA, which will be free after 8 p.m. and has extending its operating hours to about 2 a.m. to accommodate revelers.

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