Acorn drop signals 2011 in Raleigh

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

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Music, dancing and a giant Lite Brite highlighted this year’s First Night celebration in downtown Raleigh, which is in its 20th year.

The party started at 2 p.m. with a children’s celebration.

"It's great fun. It's a beautiful, beautiful night out and warm. Everyone is having fun," Jessica Brueggerman said. "(It's) a great place to bring the kids and feel safe and just be out." 

"They are crazy about it, especially at night when it gets dark and they get all the souvenirs," Rick Reeves said of his children. 

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

First Night featured bands, including Donna the Buffalo, improv performers Comedy Worx and Chuck Davis & The African American Dance Ensemble.

The First Night Light Circus helped illuminate the night with a special fire circus show just before 10 p.m.

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

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

Warmer temps ring in New Year

The Triangle and surrounding areas will ring in the New Year with warmer than average temperatures.

"The good news is we do expect a mild time for ringing in the New Year with temperatures in the mid 40s around midnight," said WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson.

During the day Friday, the weather was mostly sunny and warmer with a high around 54 degrees.

"With a southerly flow in the atmosphere increasing this evening and still a snow pack and cold ground in many locations, we may start to see some dense fog develop in the evening and overnight," Johnson said.

"The warmer air over-riding the cooler ground creates enough instability to generate some low clouds and fog and maybe even some drizzle in spots," he added.

Saturday will be cloudy and reach about 62 degrees with some drizzle in the morning and perhaps light rain in the afternoon.

Sunday will be cloudy and warm at 60 degrees with rain possible in the afternoon.


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