Boston's First Night 2011 celebrations to bring in the new year

As one of only two remaining First Night events in the state, organizers said they believe the event is vital to continue bringing families and friends to the downtown Portsmouth area. Before the clock strikes midnight and kisses are exchanged,

As one of only two remaining First Night events in the state, organizers said they believe the event is vital to continue bringing families and friends to the downtown Portsmouth area. Before the clock strikes midnight and kisses are exchanged,

It is 10:58 am Thursday, and First Night Boston begins in just over 48 hours. Organizers are scrambling to beat the clock as it counts down to the 1 pm start. Sculptors are hurriedly transforming massive blocks of ice into works of art.

Sierra Bleakley, left, and Melissa Mulkey show off their cat faces during the First Night celebration that rang in 2011 in Port Townsend. By Diane Urbani de la Paz PORT TOWNSEND — First Night means a lot of things to a lot of people.

Organizers anticipated that roughly 1 million people would flock to First Night, an arts and culture festival which had 40 venues scattered across the metropolitan area, from Boston Harbor to Cambridge, Copley Square to Boston Common.