First Night revives the ancient traditions of marking the passage of time in a present day context. It was created by a group of civic-minded artists in Boston as a meaningful alternative to traditional New Year’s Eve revelry. Offered to the city as a finale to its Bicentennial events in 1976, First Night Boston also began a new tradition, bringing neighboring communities together through a joint celebration.
Framed as a family-friendly event, First Night is known as the alcohol free, alternative community celebration on December 31st.
Portsmouth became a First Night® community in 1986. We continue to celebrate First Night® with music, dance, fireworks and ice sculpture.