First Night Raleigh, presented by Artsplosure, features 20 blocks of entertainment and fun leading up to the big acorn drop at midnight.
A pass costs just $11 in advance ($15 on the day of the festival.) You don’t need a pass to be on Fayetteville Street for the outside activities, but the pass gains you access to everything all day, at every venue. It’s well worth the small cost.
Make sure to also take a look at our big list of free and cheap New Year’s events in the Triangle.
Starting December 1st, 2019, you can buy a pass online, or at any of these locations:
- North Carolina Museum of History
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
- North Carolina Museum of Art
- Quail Ridge Books & Music
- Marbles Kids Museum
- Harris Teeter
The main components of the festival are the Daytime Festival, the People’s Procession, the Early Countdown, and the evening activities and performances, leading up to the WRAL Countdown to Midnight. There are some activities that are going on just in the afternoon, some that are just in the evening and some that are going on all day and night.
Here’s some of what’s going on, but make sure to explore the First Night Raleigh website to see everything.
See all of the performances here, including schedule and venue. But here are a few that you have to look forward to:
- African American Dance Ensemble
- Barefoot Movement
- Bepot Blues & All That Jazz and Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble
- Boom Unit Brass Band
- Bradley Burgess, Organist
- Caleb Johnson and The Ramblin Saints
- Cashore Marionettes
- Comedy Worx
- Dynamo Dogs
- Glass Harp with Brien Engel
- Holly Springs School of Dance
- Illiterate Light
- NC Opera Singers
- Shay Martin Lovette
- The Connection Place Choir
- The Honey Dewdrops
- Transactors Improv
- Violet Bell
- Willie Farmer
Activities and Attractions
Just to give you an idea of the scope of activities, here are a few. Some will have a cost.
- Alien Abduction Gravitron
- Astro Botanicals Garden of Light
- Ballroom Dancing Lessons with USA Ballroom Dancers
- Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel
- Gold Leaf Sleigh Rides
- NC Book Festival
- Resolution Oak
- This Year I Will Wall
- WRAL First Night Raleigh Globe
Astro Botanicals Garden of Light
Astro Botanicals are inflatable space plants shaped like classical ornamental flowers. These extra-large, color changing sculptures are visible day or night. They’ll be at Moore Square both during the First Night Raleigh celebration, starting at 4 p.m., and on December 28th, 2019, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. First Night Raleigh pass is required for entry. Read more about Astro Botanicals Garden of Light.
Get a head start on celebrating with the Daytimes Activities, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and outdoors on the Bicentennial Plaza. There is tons for kids to do.
Many of the children’s celebration activities focus on “New Year’s Eve Around the World.”
Some of what will be going on:
- Fireworks wands
- Resolution Frames
- New Year’s Castle Construction
- New Year’s Hats
- Stained Glass Art
- People’s Procession Lanterns
- New Year’s Motto Pins
- Origami Stars
- Midnight Mural
- Celebration Bells
- Explore on 4
People’s Procession and Early Countdown
The People’s Procession begins at Bicentennial Plaza at 6 p.m. The procession makes its way down Salisbury Street and ends at the intersection of Davie and Fayetteville Street.
The Early Countdown will feature a performance by Barefoot Manner. The acorn will drop and fireworks will be set off at 7 p.m.
Countdown to Midnight
The WRAL Countdown to Midnight will feature a performance by Illiterate Light, and will culminate with the lowering of the giant acorn and fireworks.
More New Year Events in the Triangle
Check out our huge list of free and cheap New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day events in the Triangle, or take a look at a few: