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Photo Gallery | From the Archives

1976: The first First Night

December 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.
December 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.