First Night gets French twist
Posted November 27, 2011
First Night, the annual New Year's celebration in downtown Raleigh, will have a distinct accent this year.
Planners have scheduled dozens of performances and activities designed to reflect French influences and perennial First Night Raleigh favorites like the African American Dance Ensemble, Transactors Improv Company, Comedy Worx and the Lenny Marcus Trio plan to adapt their work to the theme.
The centerpiece of the night will be a 90-foot ferris wheel to be installed on Fayetteville Street. Dubbed “La Grande Roue de Raleigh,” the ferris wheel is a nod to the annual tradition of Paris’s Tuileries Garden.
First Night Raleigh 2012 begins at 2 p.m. Dec. 31 with the Children’s Celebration at the North Carolina Museums of History and Natural Sciences and on the Bicentennial Plaza. Children are invited to participate in hands-on craft activities including creating impressionist paintings, making miniature sailboats and decorating their own versions of the Eiffel Tower.
Cirque performances, storytellers, musicians, giant puppets and various other artists will be featured throughout the afternoon. A mini festival of French films will take place all day inside the NC Museum of Natural Sciences auditorium.
The People’s Procession down Salisbury Street and an early countdown at 7 p.m. will kick off the evening entertainment. Performances and activities will take place in over two dozen venues throughout downtown Raleigh.
New York-based fusion-funk band The Pimps of Joytime will headline the main stage. The evening concludes with the countdown to midnight, the descent of the Raleigh Acorn and fireworks to ring in the new year.
Admission passes for access to all venues and activities go on sale Dec. 1 for $9.