Raleigh, N.C. — Those heading to downtown Raleigh for the First Night celebration will be dry since no rain is forecast for the last day of 2014, but revelers should plan to bundle up as temperatures hover near freezing around midnight.
Wednesday will be sunny with a high of 45 degrees. By 7 p.m., the temperature will drop to about 37 and down to 33 by midnight.
"The skies will be clear, so we don’t have to worry about any rain," said WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. "The rain begins to creep back in for us late on Friday."
Thursday, the first day of the new year, will see a high around 49, followed by 50 on Friday, 47 on Saturday and a jump to 61 on Sunday.
'Out of This World' celebration planned
This year's First Night Raleigh theme is “Out of This World." The New Year's Eve celebration will include music, children’s activities and other festivities.
Festivities kick of at 2 p.m. with the Children’s Celebration at the North Carolina Museum of History, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and outdoors on the Bicentennial Plaza. Parents can have their children ring in the New Year with the Early Countdown at 7 p.m.
Performances at the Main Stage begin earlier than past years, starting at 4 p.m. Later into the night, the streets of Raleigh come alive with performances in more than 20 blocks of downtown Raleigh and a First Night tradition, the People’s Procession at 6 p.m.
WRAL will have full coverage of Raleigh's First Night 2015. It all starts at 10 p.m. on FOX 50. The fun continues with an expanded edition of WRAL's 11 p.m. news through the acorn drop.
Anchors Kathryn Brown and Ken Smith will host the live First Night coverage. Reporter Julia Sims will join them with reports from across downtown. Several special guests will join them as well.
Hailed by iTunes as “Best Alternative Album” with their recent release Rise Ye Sunken Ships, AUGUSTINES will headline this year’s main stage leading up to the countdown to 2015. Ira David Wood III returns as the countdown master of ceremonies, with the famous acorn dropping at midnight while fireworks are shot off into the night sky.
The Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel returns to Fayetteville Street this year and, in keeping with the “Out of This World” theme, First Night Raleigh 2015 will also host an “Alien Abduction” ride for festival-goers to enjoy. Both amusements will open to the public at 2 p.m.
Other artists scheduled to appear include: The Barefoot Movement, Raleigh’s own The Love Language, African American Dance Ensemble, Amelia Curran, Paperhand Puppet Intervention, North Carolina Opera singers, PopUp Chorus, Amelia Curran, Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra, Old Man Luedecke, Sonic Escape, Moving Pieces interactive theater, “Out of This World” installation by Greg Carter, Comedy Worx, Transactors Improv Company, El Gleno Grande and many more.
Raleigh artist Greg Carter will be creating whimsical and colorful creations to display in PNC Plaza for the event. The North Carolina State University instructor said he wants people to have fun viewing his work.
"The fact that so many people are alone, the art tries to say 'you share things in common with other people, you share stuff with the rest of your city, the rest of your community, and we are all in this together,' so that's kind of my spin on the season," Carter said.
Park-and Ride planned
First Night Raleigh 2015 will have Park-and-Ride with CAT buses. Buses will operate two park-and-ride services from central locations in North and Southeastern Raleigh. Services will start at 6 p.m. with a final departure of 1 a.m. from downtown Raleigh.
CAT will operate from North Raleigh at 2728 Capital Blvd. (Old Westinghouse building) and from Southeastern Raleigh at 4011 Carya Drive (Wake County Government Office Park), offering service frequencies of 30 minutes or less. The downtown pick-up and drop-off locations will be at Morgan Street and Fayetteville Street, in the heart of First Night Raleigh festivities.
Security will be provided at both park-and-ride locations with off-duty Raleigh police officers for the duration of the event.
Regular CAT fares will apply to the service at $1.25 per one-way trip, or full-day passes can be purchased for $2.50 round-trip. Discounted fares for seniors and people with accessibility needs will be honored, as well as honoring existing pass holders (i.e. if a person has a 30-day pass, it will be accepted). Fare will be free for children under 12 years old, as well as to seniors 65 years and older.
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Use hashtag #FNRaleigh