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Organizers of Boston’s First Night Ending Operations

Holiday-New YearsBOSTON (AP) — The organization that founded and sustained the nation’s oldest First Night New Year’s celebrations is closing down because it’s broke.

First Night Boston announced Thursday it is ceasing operations after nearly four decades because of declining donations and sponsorships. The nonprofit group is laying off its small staff and closing its downtown offices by month’s end.

The annual event featured artistic performances, ice sculptures, fireworks and other seasonal celebrations.

Director Geri Guardino tells The Boston Globe the event’s popularity may have given the public a false sense of security that the event was financially stable.

Major funding has fallen 70 percent since 2003.

Mayor Tom Menino vowed to continue the tradition, either finding another group to run it or having the city take on the responsibility.

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