Local News

Thousands Crowd Fayetteville Street Mall for First Night Festivities

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RALEIGH — Tens of thousands of Triangle residents rang in the New Year at Raleigh's annual First Night celebration. As many as 80,000 revelers were expected downtown Friday night for the family-oriented, alcohol-free party on the Fayetteville Street Mall.

The R2K celebration started early with events for children at both the Museum of History and the Museum of Natural Sciences.

Many children created special hats made earlier in the day at the Scrap Exchange exhibit.

Trigon, the three-headed dragon led the People's Procession to the Civic Center Plaza, where kids were able to ring in the new year a little earlier, with a special drop of the ceremonial acorn just for them at 8 p.m; a repeat performance took place at midnight.

Music and other outdoor events got under way at 6 p.m.

New to First Night this year was a three-hour dance party at the Raleigh Convention and Civic Center.

Five bands helped ring in the new year with a sock hop, swing and disco dancing.

There were also a number of performances going on until the countdown to the grand finale.

People will have to pay to park in the Cabarrus Street Parking deck across from Moore Square.

There are also paid parking lots along the 400 and 500 blocks of Wilmington Street. Parking rates vary between $2 and $4, but there is a dollar discount on presentation of a coupon from the First Night program.

First Night tickets are $14 for adults, $9 for children 3 - 12 years of age. Younger kids get in free. -->

Other big celebrations taking place across the Triangle included the North Carolina Symphony's New Year's Concert at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium, the James Taylor concert at Raleigh's Entertainment and Sports Arena, and a Latin American Millennium Celebration Gala at Marco's Restaurant in Raleigh. andMichelle Singer