Raleigh, N.C. — Revelers crowded the streets of downtown Raleigh on Tuesday to say goodbye to watch the acorn drop signaling the beginning of 2014.
This year, the annual First Night New Year's Eve bash took on an international theme with performers from around the globe hitting the stage and streets to entertain crowds. From Broadway sing-a-longs to improv comedy, there were something for everyone.
Juggler Mark Nizer played First Night for the fourth time this year. This comedian/juggler put on a 3D show that involves laser beams.
In addition to the Ferris Wheel, two new rides lined Fayetteville Street.
The Rock Around the World gave riders a trip 50 feet in the air.
"It was a lot longer than I thought it was gonna be," visitor Carolina Talton said after the ride. "It was great."
"My stomach was doing flips. I was on an adrenaline rush. It was fun," rider Campbell Payne said.
For those wanting to stay closer to the ground, there was a carousel at the corner of Fayetteville and Martin streets. For Dexter Howard's girls, it was the main attraction. "They really love to be on this Merry Go Round," he said.
About 80,000 people were expected to crowd downtown Raleigh to see the acorn drop and fireworks at midnight.
During the afternoon, children created arts and crafts including origami and kites in the Bicentennial Plaza. The littlest revelers even had their own toddler play area inside the North Carolina Museum of History. The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences also hosted First Night Children's Celebration events.
Marbles Kid's Museum offered a separate celebration that allowed children to ring in 2014 at noon.
The children's celebration culminated with the People's Procession at 6 p.m., a dazzling parade featuring creations from the Paperhand Puppet Intervention. At 7 p.m., an early acorn drop and fireworks display completed the night for the younger revelers.
Country singer Jason Michael Carroll, who is from Youngsville, joined WRAL's First Night coverage this year.
Elsewhere in North Carolina, a possum and pickle will help usher in 2014.
- Despite objections from PETA, people in Brasstown lowered a live possum in a box at midnight. A Wake County judge decided last week not to block the practice at this early stage in the nonprofit's legal challenge.
- In Mount Olive, a lighted three-and-a-half-foot pickle dropped was dropped at 7 p.m.
- At the coast, a crab pot descended at midnight in Morehead City.
- In Fayetteville, a dogwood flower rose to the sky at midnight.
- In Eastover, a 30-pound foam flea dropped at midnight.