Local News

Raleigh preps for New Year's Eve bash

Posted December 28, 2010
Updated December 31, 2010

— Preparations were underway on Tuesday for Raleigh’s annual New Year’s Eve bash – First Night.

Music, dancing and a giant Lite Brite will highlight this year’s downtown celebration, which is in its 20th year.

WRAL.com will live stream the evening news, New York City's ball drop and Raleigh's acorn drop.

The party kicks off at 2 p.m. Friday with a children’s celebration.

The annual People’s Procession, which features colorful puppets and costumes, will head down Fayetteville Street at 6 p.m.

The evening will feature bands, including Donna the Buffalo, improv performers Comedy Worx and Chuck Davis & The African American Dance Ensemble.

The First Night Light Circus will perform on the 100 block of Fayetteville Street from 8 to 11 p.m., with a special fire circus show at 9:45 p.m.

Nearby, visitors can create their own designs on a giant Lite Brite, modeled after the late 1960s toy.

"This will be the first time we've ever done anything like this. It really got out of hand," program director Terri Dollar said of the 1,000 recycled water bottles that have been colored with special paint for the interactive element. 

Raleigh preps for First Night Raleigh preps for First Night

Volunteer Connor Lillis wasn't even born when the first, Raleigh First night was celebrated two decades ago, but he said he is making up for that that by paying some good feeling forward.

“There’s some satisfaction in seeing the smiles on people's faces when they come downtown and the kids get to do all the arts and crafts,” Lillis said.

A 1,200-pound steel-and-copper acorn will drop twice on Friday in the City Plaza – once at 7 p.m. for the children’s early countdown and at midnight. 

Admission buttons for First Night are $9 in advance and $10 for children and $12 for adults on site. Children 5 and under will be admitted free with a button-wearing adult.


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  • Timtooltime Dec 30, 2010

    The acorn drops a whole 5' ! Just goes to show you, the acorn does not drop far from the tree in Raleigh !

  • Phlebotomia Dec 30, 2010

    Anything goin on around the Spring Lake area?

  • bluegrass Dec 30, 2010

    Despite Meeker's attempts and the many tax dollars thrown at it. Downtown remains downtown.

  • Nope Dec 29, 2010

    It is corny.

  • superman Dec 29, 2010

    I worked downtown for several years. The morning after the evening concerts there were empty beer cans and bottles everywhere. So many people were out during the day asking for handouts and then using profanity when you said no. I had to pay to park and then walk 6 blocks to work. It was not assigned parking and you could only park there if there was an empty space so you didnt dare to leave during the day if you were lucky enough to find a place to park. I wouldnt ever go downtown again unless on business.

  • dwntwnboy Dec 29, 2010

    "Last time I went in '99, I ended up coming across a man, bleeding, who had been stabbed. Downtown is not safe at night."- well, a LOT has changed in downtown in 11 years. It's not what it used to be. It's alive at night, there are bars and restaurants and people actually LIVING downtown now. I'm amazed at all the things going on downtown on any given night. For those that say "there's nothing to do downtown"- you aren't paying attention. While this particular event isn't everyone's cup of tea, it's nice the city puts on a party for those that don't want to have to fight their way to the bar or have to find a baby sitter. Kudos city of Raleigh!! May your Acorn drop safely :-)

  • bcsutton1 Dec 29, 2010

    I think the last time I went was 2007. I was so bored that I couldn't wait to go back home.
    They need to get rid of that stupid acorn. It amazes me that with all of the tech companies we have that we can't come up with a better ball. I mean we can get Cree to come up with a nice LED ball to drop. smh

  • Weaker Pelosi Dec 29, 2010

    No alcohol, kids everywhere, not for me.

  • Baybee Doll Dec 28, 2010

    I won't be going. Last time I went in '99, I ended up coming across a man, bleeding, who had been stabbed. Downtown is not safe at night. Period.

  • Stand-In-The-Door Dec 28, 2010

    I know this is a big deal. I am just curious how much money the city and county spend to put this on?