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First Night 2009 Button unveiled Friday Nov. 14

(BOSTON - Nov. 10, 2008) The 33rd edition of North America's oldest and largest New Year's Eve celebration takes place on Dec. 31, 2008. The button for First Night Boston 2009 will be unveiled on Friday, Nov. 14, 2008 at 10 a.m. in the lobby of The Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, the official hotel of First Night Boston.

On hand for the button unveiling will be First Night Executive Director Geri Guardino and button artist Rachel Maguire of Whitman, Mass., as well as WBZ-TV News Anchor Lisa Hughes. The event will last about twenty minutes, and will include the presentation, as well as a short speaking program.

Rachel Maguire, 27, grew up in Pembroke, Mass. She earned her BA in Illustration and Animation from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2005. Both her acrylic paintings and digital work have been described as whimsical and fun. Currently she works at Soup2Nuts animation as character designer for the award winning PBS show The Amazing Colossal Adventures of WordGirl. Her art has appeared in The Weekly Dig, Parents and Kids magazine, and Live Nation's Rock and Art charity auction. Her animations have aired at film festivals all over the country in such venues as the San Diego Woman's Film Festival, Animation Block Party, Boston's Underground Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival, the Port City Animation Festival, and a previous First Night Boston celebration. She resides in Whitman, Mass., drawing and painting the wonder and beauty she continues to find in this world. You can see some of her work at www.rayarray.com.

In addition to being the ticket for admission to performances and exhibits throughout Boston on Dec. 31, the First Night button with Maguire's image is featured in all First Night collateral materials, such as print ads, posters, billboards, and MBTA car cards. For more than ten years, Boston's WBZ-TV has been First Night's exclusive television sponsor and as such features the button in promotional announcements. First Night's other media sponsors include Metro Boston The Boston Parents' Paper The Epoch Times, the MBTA, Clear Channel Outdoor and Wall USA. All will carry advertising that will include images of the button with Maguire's work. Radio sponsors include WFNX 101.7, WGBH 89.7, WUMB 91.9 and The River.

Highlights of this year's First Night include performances by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Opera Boston, Hiromi's Sonicbloom (WGBH 89.7's live national radio broadcast "Toast of the Nation"), Sxip's Sonic New York, Monkeyhouse and Ellis Paul, plus the FedEx Family Festival, Metro Boston Grand Procession, ice sculptures, fireworks and more. A complete program can be found at www.firstnight.org on Nov. 14.

This will be the 33rd First Night Boston. Founded in 1976, First Night was started by artists who sought an alternative to traditional New Year's Eve revelry. The celebration has grown from a small arts event centered on the Boston Common to an arts organization that showcases work by local, national and international artists. First Night has gone from attracting about 25,000 people to drawing crowds over one million, and generating an estimated $47 million dollars in revenue for business in the City of Boston. The concept that originated in Boston 33 years ago has served as a model for more than 200 similar celebrations worldwide.

All First Night outdoor events are free, though supported by sales of the First Night button, which is the ticket for admission to all indoor events. Buttons are $18 (children under 4 admitted free) and will be available beginning Nov. 28 at Boston-area Shaw's and Star Markets, Tedeschi's, Store 24, Au Bon Pain and dozens