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BOSTON (CAP) - Families that travel from miles around, braving huge crowds and frigid temperatures, to view the ice sculptures on display for the city's First Night celebration have been surprised to find them not all that interesting, according to multiple sources close to the event.
"Well, they're made of ice, that's for sure," said Artie Muntz of Wilmot, N.H., shivering in near-zero temperatures as he viewed a sculpture near the Boston Public Library that may have been George Washington, or a Greek statue, or Carol Channing. "Now what?"
Sally Marks, who came with her family to Boston from her home in Lakeville, Mass., had a similar reaction when viewing a sculpture of a horse and buggy.
"That's nice how they shine the colored lights on them," she said after spending 20 minutes working her way through the crowd to get a view of the sculpture. "I kind of wish I could feel my feet, though."
This year there are five ice sculptures in Boston, approximately one per every 200,000 visitors to the event. Subjects include frogs, a pyramid, and icicles.
"It's kind of clever, I guess, making an ice sculpture shaped like icicles," said Frank Pirelli of Saugus, Mass., trying to wipe the frozen vomit from a drunken reveler off his Gore-Tex jacket. "Hey, you got a couple of napkins or something?"
The annual event is one of the nation's most popular, each year drawing more and more people who are vehemently opposed to saying they spent New Year's Eve home alone doing nothing special.
"People who attend First Night, as a rule, can't wait to get back to work so they can tell their less exciting co-workers that they saw the ice sculptures," noted Boston University sociology professor Kevin Pickering. "The irony of course being that many of them can't go back to work for several weeks, because of the frostbite."
Pickering said the motivation is similar for the people who arrive 12 to 15 hours early to get a seat for the Boston Pops each Fourth of July. "But at least then it's warm out, and Keith Lockhart is, admittedly, dreamy," he noted.
But there's much more to First Night Boston than just ice sculptures, even if that's all anyone ever talks about, said event coordinator Marcy Perks. "For instance, there are many, many scary puppets that families can see while huddling together to keep warm."
The event also features a good number of cold musicians who all start to sound alike after a while.
"Yep, that's music all right," commented Muntz, as his wind-induced tears froze to the sides of his cheeks during a performance of Groove City or the Boston African Drum Ensemble or the Bay State Drum Circle, or possibly some other percussion-oriented group pounding away by the side of the road. "Is it midnight yet?"
Told it was only 8:45, he then made a desperate attempt to impale himself on one of the icicles.
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