After going virtual last year due to the pandemic, First Night Boston – the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in New England – returned as an in-person gathering to usher in 2022.
Copley Square was again center stage for the festivities, formally run by Conventures, with 12 hours of entertainment to mark the occasion at sites around the neighborhood, including the Emancipation Proclamation Concert at Trinity Church, described as a “celebration of liberty and freedom” presented by the Handel and Haydn Society in partnership with the Museum of African American History; and a cultural dance and music performance by Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association (GBCCA) in Copley Square, among myriad activities.
Along with the traditional ice sculptures in Copley Square, other family-friendly First Night highlights included the Puppet Showplace Theater outside the Copley Place Mall, and the Opening Ceremony and Celebrate Boston Procession, which made its way from Copley Square to the Boston Common, replete with puppets, motor vehicles, and woodwind instruments.
A fireworks display over the Boston Common, sponsored by The Mugar Foundation and The City of Boston, kicked off at 7 p.m. on the Boston Common in anticipation of the midnight fireworks over the Boston Harbor, sponsored by The Friends of Christopher Columbus Park.
The First Night Copley Countdown in Copley Square in Copley Square also welcomed the new year with a Pyrotechnics and Light Show above the Fairmont Copley hotel, as well as live music on the Copley stage.
And in a true sign of the times, the Boston Public Health Commission in partnership with the Whittier Street Health Center also made COVID vaccines, boosters, and rapid test freely available to revelers at pop-up clinics located in Copley Square and in the Copley Branch of the Boston Public Library. In all, more than 400 vaccines were administered at the two clinics, according to a representative from Mayor Michelle Wu’s office, while 1,400 rapid test kits were distributed by the Whittier Street Health Center.
“I’m overjoyed to bring back the beloved tradition of First Night and to offer Bostonians a chance to get vaccinated or boosted as we ring in 2022,” said Mayor Michelle Wu prior to the event in a press release. “We’ve shifted the celebration outdoors to put public health and safety at the forefront as we welcome the New Year. I’m grateful to all our city departments and partners working hard for all Bostonians and visitors to stay safe and healthy, and get vaccinated this holiday season.”