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    Preparation begins for First Night Boston

    Chu Ling prepared her dance academy students for a First Night performance at the FedEx Family Festival on Monday.
    Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
    Chu Ling prepared her dance academy students for a First Night performance at the FedEx Family Festival on Monday.

    Preparations for the 37th annual First Night Boston began on Wednesday, the first of many days of work for the 12-hour festival on New Year’s Eve filled with dance, music, and art, including those fleeting marvels, the ice sculptures, and a parade.

    Since its Boston beginnings in 1976, First Night, a nonprofit organization, has worked to promote community and diversity through art and celebration. It has spread to more than 70 cities across the United States, the organization’s website says.

    The event, which will run from 12 p.m. Monday to 12 a.m. Tuesday will feature more than 1,000 artists in 200 performances and exhibits, which will take place both indoors and outdoors across downtown Boston — from the waterfront to the Fenway, the organization said.


    Setting up the structures for the festival is underway, and weather permitting, the ice carving will begin Thursday and go through the weekend, said Joyce Linehan, director of public relations for First Night Boston. The ice sculptures, which will be located outside the Prudential Center and in Copley Square, will be illuminated at night on New Year’s Eve.

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    Other events throughout the day include the FedEx Family Festival, skating at the Boston Common Frog Pond, a poetry slam at Hynes Convention Center, and activities for children, as well as theater, comedy, and film. A full schedule is available on the First Night website.

    At 5:30 p.m., First Night Boston’s annual Grand Procession, a 45 minute-long parade of puppeteers, schoolchildren, community groups, musicians, and dancers, will begin at the front of the Hynes Convention Center and continue down Boylston and Charles streets before finishing on Beacon Street, Linehan said.

    The night will conclude with a fireworks show on Boston Harbor, the organization said.

    Admittance to indoor First Night Boston events requires a First Night button, which is for sale for $18 at numerous locations, including Shaw’s Supermarkets, Au Bon Pain, Tedeschi Food Shops, and J.P. Licks. All outdoor events are free; and children under 4 are charged no admission fee for any event.

    Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at