Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh and Wake County plan to hold a street festival to let the public celebrate as the NHL All-Stars drop the puck.
The NHL All-Star Wide Open festival will be held in downtown Raleigh Jan. 28-30 as the National Hockey League descends on the state for its annual showcase of stars.
"With this all-star partnership, we’ve scored a huge win for the region," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. "The NHL All-Star game is about celebrating the best, and that’s what we’re delivering for international, national and regional fans to enjoy and buzz about for years to come.”
The festival will be modeled on the annual Raleigh Wide Open street festival "teamed with music and all things hockey," Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble said. The ice rink in the City Plaza will be a centerpiece of the festival, which also take place on Fayetteville and Cabarrus streets.
“NHL All-Star Wide Open will not only remind Wake and Triangle residents why this is such an exciting place to live, but introduce thousands of visitors to our region’s unique energy and resources," Coble continued.
As well, the NHL Fan Fair will cover the Raleigh Convention Center with interactive hockey, special appearances by Hall of Famers, displays of Hockey Hall of Fame trophies and memorabilia, and pin- and card-trading zones.
A Three Doors Down will headline a series of concerts in the downtown amphitheater, with a free concert on Jan. 28. A 5K walk/run to benefit the Carolina Hurricanes Kids 'N Community Foundation will start and end at the RBC Center on Saturday.
“NHL Fan Fair and NHL All-Star Wide Open will give all fans a chance to be part of the All-Star excitement,” said Don Renzulli, NHL senior vice president of events. “There will be no shortage of programming, attractions and activities for fans of all ages.”
The NHL awarded the 2011 All-Star game to the Carolina Hurricanes last April, coming through on a pledge commissioner Gary Bettman once made to the franchise. The game was originally scheduled for Phoenix, but when the Coyotes filed for bankruptcy, the league re-opened its options.
"We are confident this market will be an outstanding host for All-Star weekend," Carolina Hurricanes President Jim Rutherford said. "This event is further proof of how the community has embraced our team and our sport."
The All-Star game is expected to give a $10 million boost to local businesses, but it's the exposure that's priceless, Meeker said.
"An event like this, of course, brings people who stay at hotels, eat in restaurants," he said. "More importantly, it puts us on an international stage and puts us in a very favorable light, hosting a big event like this."