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First Night Boston 2013: Schedule, Highlights of the New Year's Celebration

Family fun, ice sculptures, musical performances and more.

From the Waterfront to Fenway; Shakespeare to Indie rock; family celebrations to fireworks on the Common, Boston's 2013 First Night celebration has it all ... and then some.

The city's 37th annual festival features world class performances of art, music, film and dance, and showcases more than 1,000 artists and 200 exhibitions. Events will take place Monday from noon to midnight all over Boston.

All First Night outdoor events are free, but buy an $18 button (children under 4 are free) for access to all indoor events, and be sure to check out the whole schedule online. Organizers strongly encourage using the online interactive planner to sign up for activities. 

Highlights:

  • Ice sculptures in Back Bay: This year features several ice sculptures at Boylston Plaza's Shops at the Prudential Center and in Copley Square. Stick around, because at night they'll light up. Prudential Center and Copely Square, all day.
  • FedEx Family Festival: There's music, dance, face painting, storytelling, puppets, magic and more. Don't miss Ellis Paul, who will perform songs from his award-winning children's album, The Dragonfly Races. Hynes Convention Center Auditorium, 3:30 and 4:45 p.m. There's also the Airborne Comedians, a set of jugglers who will balance atop seven foot unicycles while flinging objects at one another. Hynes Convention Center Hall D, 2 and 4 p.m.
  • Ice-Skating Show: Delight in watching spins, jumps, lifts and fancy footwork by talented skaters. Students from the Skating Club of Boston Skating Academy will show off their new tricks; seasoned competitors and champions from the local and national scene entertain. Boston Common Frog Pond, 6 p.m.
  • Grand procession: The grand procession has been a staple since First Night began in 1976. This year, the procession is themed "The Nature of Boston," a study in contrasts, with elements from nature meeting the built environment at every intersection of our daily lives in the city. The parade a will feature different pieces from the Back Alley Puppet Theatre and the Puppateers Cooperative. The procession starts at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Hynes Convention Center, and winds down Boylston and Charles streets before ending on Beacon Street. Boylston Street, 5:30 p.m.
  • Lee Fields & the Expressions: Since the late 60’s, the North Carolina native has amassed a prolific catalog of albums and has toured and played with such legends as Kool and the Gang, Sammy Gordon and the Hip-Huggers, O.V Wright, Darrell Banks, and Little Royal. With a catalogue that ranges from James Brown-style funk to lo-fi blues to contemporary Southern soul to collaborations with French house DJ/producer Martin Solveig, Lee Fields has done it all. New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, 9 – 10:15 p.m.
  • ImprovBoston: Always one of First Night's most popular events, ImprovBoston takes suggestions from the audience for a hilarious comedic performance. Hynes Convention Center Hall C, 7:30 - 10:45 p.m.
  • Commonwealth Shakespeare: From the people who do Shakespeare in the Boston Common during the summer, along with the New England Conservatory, this 50-minute, mullti-media adaptation is a journey through loss, recovery and finally, rebirth in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. Hynes Convention Center Room Ballroom A, 7:30 - 8:15 p.m.
  • John Schofield's Uberjam: John Schofield’s guitar work has influenced jazz since the late 70s and is going strong today. With a distinctive sound and stylistic diversity, Schofield is a masterful jazz improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, funk-edged jazz, and R&B. Berklee Performance Center, 8:45 p.m. - 10:45 p.m.
  • Magnetic Fields: Debuting at First Night this year is The Magnetic Fields, a band with a two decade career, which began in Boston.Stephin Merritt arranges and produces all his albums, playing many of the instruments as well.The band has been touring throughout 2012 to support their new album, Love at the Bottom of the SeaSymphony Hall, 9 p.m.
  • Fireworks over Boston Harbor: Celebrate the start of 2013 with your eyes to the sky for a colorful display designed by Zambelli International. Begins promptly at midnight. Happy New Year!

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