Local News

Happy New Year! Raleigh Rings in 2008

Posted December 30, 2007
Updated October 12, 2011

— Dancers, musicians, magicians and thousands of New Year's Eve revelers converged on downtown Raleigh to ring in 2008.

They were all there for the Triangle's biggest public celebration of the year - First Night Raleigh. Excitement was in the air as crowds made their way up and down Fayetteville Street to take in the big street party.

The Holcomb family made the trip from Durham. It was their first time taking in Raleigh's First Night Children's Celebration. The kids got a chance to showcase their artistic side, crafting signs to welcome the New Year.

“It’s kid-friendly,” mother Michelle Holcomb said.

The Children's Celebration this year toasted the year of 1967, the summer of peace and love and all things psychedelic.

“It’s a lot of fun for them,” said dad Dan Bauer. “They like to see the early Acorn drop. It gives them a chance to be part of things without staying up too late."

The night’s festivities began with the annual People’s Procession – a parade everyone got to be a part of.

“[It] just brings everyone together in a festive atmosphere,” said Ivan Dickey.

Organizers wrapped up final preparations for the 17th First Night Raleigh celebration Monday in anticipation for a yearly event which brings out the young and the young at heart to ring in the new year.

The last banners for the Countdown to First Night project were unveiled over the weekend. This new festival feature was an outdoor visual art project consisting of 30 banners displayed on the outside of the Alexander Square Parking Deck.

Decorated by local art students, professional artists and community organizations, a different banner was unveiled each day beginning Dec. 2.

The Acorn, which has been lowered to ring in the New Year every year at First Night Raleigh, was moved from its regular home in Moore Square Park to downtown near the Capital Bank Plaza at the corner of Fayetteville and Davie streets early Monday morning.

More than 100 performers were there for the festivities, which were headlined by Grammy-nominated singer and Raleigh native Tift Merritt.

World Welcomes New Year

Meanwhile Monday, a million revelers cheered fireworks in Sydney, Australia – one of the first cities to celebrate the New Year. Beijing started the year with fireworks, singing and dancing put on by the organizers of the Summer Olympics.

In London, people gathered in Trafalgar Square and along the banks of the River Thames to watch a fireworks display and hear Big Ben – Parliament's iconic bell – welcome the New Year with 12 resounding bongs.

In a quirky tradition in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, Madrid residents planned to dine on 12 grapes – one for each chime at midnight.

Berlin was braced for a massive fete: In a stretch leading from the city's famous Brandenburg Gate along Tiergarten park to the western part of town, officials set up three stages, 13 bands, 40-yard tall Ferris wheel and over 100 beer stands and snack joints.

In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI took a somber note, lamenting what he called the "trivialization" of sexuality and lack of faith among young people during a vespers' service in St. Peter's Basilica.


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  • common_sense_plz Jan 1, 2008

    I agree with dropping the nut from a crane, sad, but I guess we need to look beyond the crane and just find the positive no matter what it may look like to others. Just like the crystal ball in time square, it is just a symbol for that one moment to ring in the new year. whereas the crystal ball is not seen through out the year, you can see our nut all year, along with many more nuts. We had no problem downtown, can't say that it was wonderful enough to go back again. All the people that we encountered were nice and spirits were high. Happy New year to all, and I hope that we can all find the positive in all the bad out there, sure would make things go much smoother in our lives. Blessings to all

  • tartar1 Jan 1, 2008

    first night seems like it may be decent. or atleast they are going in the right direction. The BIG problem that i have with First Night is, no lights on the Acorn. I have yet to understand why they have a spotlight on the thing...

  • lornadoone Jan 1, 2008

    man first night was so scary. i wore my kevlar, but a group of guys ended up stabbing me.

  • lynddsy Jan 1, 2008

    didn't go and didn't want to go. BUT HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!

  • motorfinga Jan 1, 2008



  • doobedobedoodoo Jan 1, 2008

    2008! The year we elect another Republican to the White House!!

  • hawk_fan Jan 1, 2008

    Just got back from First Night. We had a great time and plan to go back again next year! Police officers were everywhere, people were friendly, and we encountered no problems. Happy New Year, everyone!

  • malave27896 Dec 31, 2007


  • weasleyes Dec 31, 2007

    To quote my favorite philosopher, Fred Sanford: "Not for all the money on earth!" Clear out all of the bums and thugs, and then, I might attend. One of them kidnapped and killed a friend of mine on 8/22/06! These "people" should not even be allowed downtown! Definition of "people:" You should be decently dressed, no holding up your pants; you should be in school(and passing, or have a job, or both; your family should be working and not be on welfare! Incidetally, my friend, one of the best people that I will ever meet was black! Why does that matter? We had discussed this many times over the years, and yet a black "homeless" (read "sorry, worthless" person) kidnapped and murdered my hard-working, decent friend? You folks help me understand it! She was considered black and I was considered white, yet we never talked in those terms. We were simply friends, and I mourn her death every day. Get rid of these bums!

  • idickey1 Dec 31, 2007

    My family has always enjoyed first night. HOWEVER,we had family visiting and they come to see acron drop with thier 3 year old. THey arrived at approx. 6:30 and were stopped and harrassed by a lady in a white first night tent on davis st .right off fayetteville.It was so embarrassing for her and her husband and child. We spend so much money in downtown raleigh on this night and the family from out of town attended no activities. THe lady asked my daughter in law "Don't you care about supporing first night. My daughter in law gave her money to shut her up and to have her 3 yoa see the big acron drop.We ALL left and will not be back next year. (Molly)