Local News

First Night Activities To Focus on Fayetteville Street

Posted December 26, 2006 12:49 p.m. EST
Updated December 26, 2006 6:50 p.m. EST

— The annual First Night Raleigh celebration will take advantage of the reopened Fayetteville Street for many New Year's Eve activities.

First Night activities traditionally have been spread across downtown, but organizers said more will be held within walking distance of Fayetteville Street on Sunday night.

"It seemed so spread out. You didn't get a feeling for the event. I think being back on Fayetteville Street brings connectors of all different places where First Night takes place," Downtown Raleigh Alliance President Nancy Hormann said.

This plaza where the old convention center used to stand has been the place where the acorn has dropped at midnight for most First Night celebrations. Now that the plaza has been removed to make way for construction of the new convention center, the acorn drop will be moved north one block into the middle of the intersection of Fayetteville and Davie streets.

This year's theme is a celebration of the '70s, '80s, '90s and today. Each block of Fayetteville Street will be turned into a different era, and events will spread onto the side streets.

Christ Hardwick of Raleigh, who holds the world record for solving the Rubik's cube, will be in the 1980s section, for example, showing off his skill on the multi-colored puzzle. Meanwhile, festival attendees can dance the macarena on the steps of the Wake County Courthouse.

"That's what First Night is about -- to program non traditional performance spaces," said Terri Dollar, program director for Artsplosure, which organizes the annual event. "I think it's great to go into a space where you normally bank and here a Latin band. People like that kind of unexpected surprise."

A big party in the center of downtown will recall bygone times, when Fayetteville Street used to be a gathering place, Dollar said.

"People look for that -- park your car and be able to walk to everything -- sort of that amusement park mentality," she said. "We hope families will start a new tradition and say we are going back to Fayetteville Street, we are going to First Night."