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From the Archives | Photo Gallery

The first First Night

Dec. 29, 1976: As part of the countdown to First Night 1977, Mark Dannenhauer skied through the First Night doorway as Dancing Bear (Ellie Hayes) looked on. The pair from the Northeast Puppet Theater rehearsed in Waterfront Park for their First Night performance.

Paul Connell/Globe staff

Dec. 29, 1976: As part of the countdown to First Night 1977, Mark Dannenhauer skied through the First Night doorway as Dancing Bear (Ellie Hayes) looked on. The pair from the Northeast Puppet Theater rehearsed in Waterfront Park for their First Night performance.

First Night has become so successful that it’s sometimes hard to remember a time when it was simply called New Year’s Eve and you didn’t need to buy a button. The first First Night marked the last night of 1976. These photographs document the first time Bostonians enjoyed the arts festival that would one day spread nationwide and ring in the new year in over 70 cities, growing to showcase the work of over 1,000 artists. - Lane Turner and Lisa Tuite

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