Raleigh, N.C. — First Night Raleigh, the city's annual New Year's Eve celebration, has adopted a circus theme to ring in 2013.
Performers for the event include acrobats, fire dancers, aerial artists and fortune tellers. A mural on Fayetteville Street and rides like a Ferris wheel and an 80-foot "jumbo drop" accentuate the circus theme.
"It sounds like a great, family-friendly event," Holly Springs resident Tracy Carr said.
About 100,000 people are expected in downtown Raleigh on Monday night to celebrate the new year.
"It's gotten bigger and bigger," said Terri Dollar, a program director for Artsplosure, which produces First Night Raleigh. "We used to get the call, 'Where do I park?' or 'Where is downtown Raleigh?' Everybody knows where downtown Raleigh is now."
Organizers also have created a smartphone app that includes event maps and shows places to park, Dollar said.
At midnight, attention turns to the giant metal acorn as it is lowered toward City Plaza.
David Benson, the artist who created the acorn back in the early 1990s, polishes his artwork every year in late December to make sure it shines bright for its moment in the spotlight.
"It's a great feeling to have a piece of your artwork become a piece of history," Benson said. "I'm flattered and honored by that."