Raleigh to fix tornado-damaged acorn for New Year's Eve

Raleigh's acorn to be fixed before New Year's Eve

mgarfield@newsobserver.comNovember 5, 2011 

Raleigh's famous acorn needs a touch-up.

The 1,250-pound nut statue sports a dent in its copper exterior, courtesy of the April tornadoes that sent tree limbs flying through parts of downtown.

Raleigh will spend $3,400 to repair the ailing icon in time for the city's annual New Year's Eve celebration. That's when the acorn is hoisted by a crane and dropped as part of the countdown.

Regularly, the acorn sits on a pedestal in downtown's Moore Square, a quirky monument for the City of Oaks.

Handling the work will be David Benson, 60, the local sculptor who designed the piece and donated it for the city's Bicentennial in 1992.

Without repairs, shreds of copper could potentially fall from the damaged acorn as it dangles from the sky, city officials said this week.

Three copper panels must be replaced, said Benson, who keeps watch over the acorn on New Year's Eve - eager to make sure his prized work is treated properly.

"I'm the king of Raleigh for a day every year," Benson said. "Everybody goes, 'Oh, there's the guy who built the acorn.' "

Garfield: 919-836-4952

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