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Weekend Plans New Year's Edition: First Night, popcorn drop, Eno hike, more

It's another quiet holiday weekend on the activities front. Of course, one of the activities is Raleigh's major First Night New Year's Eve celebration. And there's more.

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First Night Raleigh 2008
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

It's another quiet holiday weekend on the activities front. Of course, one of the activities is Raleigh's major First Night New Year's Eve celebration. And there's more.

So we'll start off with that. First Night Raleigh, now in its 20th year, starts at 2 p.m. with the children's celebration. The activities, which includes crafts, activities, circus performers and much more, lasts until 6 p.m. at the state history and natural sciences museums. The big People's Procession, featuring puppets from the Paperhand Puppet Intervention, is at 6 p.m. And the early countdown, acorn drop and fireworks on Fayetteville Street are at 7 p.m. It continues with more music, performances and the official countdown, acorn drop and fireworks at midnight. Something new this year: a giant Lite Brite on Fayetteville Street. Check my earlier post for more information about the event and the Lite Brite. First Night buttons are $9 in advance and $10 for kids and $12 for adults at the door. Kids ages 5 and under are admitted free when they're with an adult with a button.
The N.C. Museum of Art's Rockwell Family Friday is at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Explore the Raleigh museum's Rockwell exhibit, along with Fins and Feathers, which features artwork by popular children's book authors and illustrators. Listen to some holiday music and sit down to a supper of comfort food at the Rockwell Cafe. Tickets to the Rockwell exhibit are $15 for adults and $7.50 for kids ages 7 to 12. Kids 6 and under are free. There is no charge to see Fins and Feathers and the museum's other exhibits. And the art museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday when two free weekend family tours are scheduled. The tours for kids ages 5 to 10 and their parent are at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Limited space. First come, first served on Saturday.
Ring in the "noon" year at Marbles at noon Friday during the Raleigh museum's New Year's Eve celebration. The party starts at 11:30 a.m. Guests wearing a First Night badge receive free admission to Marbles (but not the IMAX theatre) on Friday. Marbles is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. It's also open noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre, at 3336 Raleigh Rd. in Henderson, will hold its third annual Popcorn Box Drop to usher in the new year starting at 7 p.m. on Friday. The theater will show two Disney movies: Tangled (PG) at 7 p.m. and Tron: Legacy (PG) at 9 p.m. At 11:30 p.m., the theater will hand out glasses of sparkling cider, party hats and horns before the eight-foot-tall popcorn box drops from a 110-foot crane at midnight. There will be a contest for a $100 Disney gift card. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for kids ages 5 to 12. Admission includes the movie, event, party favors and sparkling cider. The theater is the only remaining drive-in theater in the Triangle and, at 61 years old, the oldest of the six drive-in theaters operating in North Carolina. Sounds like quite an event!
The N.C. Symphony will have a New Year's Eve concert and celebration with packages that include the concert, dinner and more. Tickets for just the concert start at $30 a piece. A cabaret style event before the show will feature winners of a talent concert. It all starts at 5:45 p.m. Friday.
Morehead Planetarium's extended holiday schedule continues through the weekend with planetarium shows scheduled Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check my earlier post for more.
There's still time to ice skate. Raleigh on Ice at North Hills closes up for the season on Sunday. Hours are 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and Saturday and 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday for the rink featuring synthetic surface. Downtown Raleigh's Winterfest is open all weekend. It's 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. That rink is open through Jan. 30.
Kwanzaa events continue around the Triangle, including KwanzaaFest 2010 at the Durham Armory. Check my earlier post for more information.
And the Eno River Foundation will hold its very popular annual New Year's Day Hike at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Eno River State Park's Few's Ford Access, 6101 Cole Mill Rd. in Durham. The hike, which has become a new year's tradition for many over the years, features two hikes: a two-mile hike and a 4- to 5-mile hike. At the end of the hike, there will be hot chocolate, marshmallows, popcorn and s'mores served. And WRAL is forecasting a gorgeous day for a hike with temperatures reaching 65 degrees. The hike is free. Registration not required. Check back here on Friday for more on Eno River.
And a note: Museums and other family spots are scaling back hours this weekend. So check my earlier post on that before you head out.

Happy New Year!

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