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(NECN: Alison King, Boston) - Boston's "First Night" is the country's oldest and largest New Year's arts celebration.
Founded in 1976, it generates more than $40 million for the city and has been copied in hundreds of cities world wide.
This year, it almost didn't happen. Until Mayor Tom Menino got wind of the problem.
"That's when I called my people and I said, 'Well, they're maybe not going to have it, but I'm going to have it,'" said Menino at an event to promote the First Night activities. "And they said, how are we going to do it? I said, well, you know something, we'll get it done somehow."
This will be Menino's last "First Night." It's one of his favorite events of the year, and having it fall apart, under his watch, was not an option.
"Earlier this year, some of my staff, the people that work at the Hynes, come in and said, 'Hey did you hear, we're not going to be doing first night this year?'" said Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Executive Director Jim Rooney. "I said, 'No no no no no. The only question is, is it going to be hours or days before the mayor calls me and says, 'Jimmy, we've got to do something about this.''"
Highlights at this year's event include two fireworks displays, new live musical performances, including headliner Patti Smith, and bigger and better parades.
"And while that's happening, you can watch 3D digital projection mapping, which has never happened in the city of Boston," Chris Cook, the the Mayor's Director of Arts and Tourism continued. "The facade of the Boston Public Library is actually going to come live with amazing video images."
Even with the upgrades this year, the cost of the admissions buttons have gone down from $18 to $10.
Mayor Menino says one of his favorite parts of First Night is the grand procession, and he will be in it again this year, for the last time, as mayor.