Raleigh has got the New Year’s Eve celebration down right. Even those who choose to do the quiet slippers-and-robe thing at home on New Year’s are tempted to turn on television coverage of First Night, the family-friendly celebration for the entering year in the Capital City. The culmination, of course, is the dropping of the acorn at midnight. (Newcomers, Raleigh is the “City of Oaks,” you see, and so there’s this copper acorn ... well, just go along with it.)
First Night is by any reckoning a success. If the weather’s right, meaning crispy in the chilly sense without some howling wind, then somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 people will come downtown for funnel cakes and a putting course and live performances in several venues and lots and lots of kid-friendly entertainment. The heartiest partyers will bring the kids, then take them home to a sitter before coming back to downtown for full-out New Year’s celebrations all along Fayetteville Street.
The truth is, while Raleigh can get loud and wild and all that, the First Night tradition has been pretty wholesome as such things go. And while the celebration will move along into the wee hours for younger folks, it’s perfectly acceptable, if you’re so inclined, to cheer the dropping acorn, yawn and head on to the house.
The First Night of 2018 approaches. Cheers – when the time comes.