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First Night Raleigh takes a French twist

Posted November 5, 2011

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— The capital city will ring in the new year with a French-inspired theme at First Night Raleigh this December, according to a performance lineup released Friday.

The 21st New Year's Eve arts festival will take place in more than two dozen venues in a 20-block of area of downtown Raleigh, starting at 2 p.m. and going until midnight on Dec. 31.

One of the festival's highlights will be a 90-foot Ferris wheel, "La Grande Roue de Raleigh," in the 100 and 200 blocks of Fayetteville Street. It's inspired by a Ferris wheel in Paris' Tuileries Garden that has been used in New Year's celebrations since the early 20th century.

First Night Raleigh begins with children's activities at the North Carolina Museums of History and Natural Sciences, including making impressionist paintings and decorating versions of the Eiffel Tower. The Natural Sciences museum will host a French film festival.

The evening's entertainment will kick off with a parade on Salisbury Street at 7 p.m. Rock, blues, jazz, gospel, opera, dance and comedy performances will take place until the midnight Acorn Drop and countdown to the New Year.

Accordionists will play at many outdoor and indoor venues to create more of a French flair.

Admission passes will go on sale Dec. 1. They cost $9 in advance.

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  • superman Nov 7, 2011

    Truly a wonderful event. Just never had the urge to go but then it is downtown. Wish they had it inside at the convention center.