Mayor Michelle Wu joined city leaders and event organizers on Wednesday morning to discuss preparations for this weekend's First Night Boston festivities.
The city is a partner of the New Year's Eve event, which is managed by Conventures.
In addition to Wu, public safety officials, the city's tourism director and Conventures President Dusty Rhodes all spoke.
This year's festivities kick off at noon on Saturday, Dec. 31 and will run until 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 1. Additional events are planned later in the day on Jan. 1 this year.
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There will be a variety of musicians, artists and performers at indoor and outdoor locations throughout the Back Bay, along with ice sculptures honoring the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. There's also the parade and two sets of fireworks.
Several hundred thousand people are expected to attend, Rhodes said, more than the estimated 200,000 who attended last year. The return of indoor events and the expansion into a two-day event are two reasons why larger numbers are expected.
"It's family," Rhodes said of the focus of the big event. "Many times people say 'What's your favorite part?' and I say the strollers. I love to see everyone coming, families coming with strollers. The kids have so much glee in their eyes. It's friendly, and it's a wonderful, wonderful festival."
"My family can't wait," Wu added. "I really appreciate the focus on those with kids. Every generation has something to enjoy at First Night -- the ice sculptures, the visuals, that wow -- it is always a treat for us as we prepare to ring in the New Year."
Public safety officials said there are no known threats to this year's festival, but there will be a heavy police presence across the city as a precaution.
There will be a series of road closures, and Wu encouraged people to take the MBTA if possible. Starting at 8 p.m. Saturday until the end of service, the T will be free to all riders, including buses, trains and the commuter rail. Train service has also been extended until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1 to make sure everyone is able to get home safely.
The Boston Public Health Commission is recommending that people wear masks when attending indoor events to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Officials also urged people who feel sick to stay home.