Giant acorn drop nears 20 years

(Courtesy of Artsplosure/First Night Raleigh/Wikimedia Commons)
December 28, 2009 8:10:52 PM PST
Hard to believe, but the First Night Raleigh tradition of dropping a giant acorn on New Year's Eve is rapidly approaching two decades.

This Thursday will mark the 19th time the giant 1,250 pound copper and steel acorn has made the trip courtesy of Southern Crane company - which boasts it's never "dropped the ball."

"Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Raleigh has been a long-standing tradition for my family and the Southern Crane staff," said Earl Johnson, III, president of Southern Crane.

The giant acorn is never far from its Raleigh home. The other 364 days of the year it sits on permanent display in Moore Square. The artwork was created by sculptor David Benson to celebrate the city's 1992 Bicentennial and Raleigh’s nickname: “The City of Oaks.”

The annual celebration begins early on New Year's Eve with events for kids and ends with two acorn drops - one at 7 p.m. for the early crowd, then another one as the clock strikes 2010.

Organizers are excited that First Night will be along a finally-finished Fayetteville Street.

"This is the way that Raleigh celebrates the New Year," organizer for First Night Raleigh Terri Dollar said. "It's one of the things that defines us as a city. City Plaza is the like the final step in the culmination of opening Fayetteville Street back into a street, and so for us it's like a crowning glory."

Organizers say First Night is about more than what happens at midnight.

"It's much more than just an acorn drop, people say, 'oh, I don't want to go, it's too cold outside.' We have over 30 indoor venues, including the Progress Energy Center, all of the churches downtown are programmed, there's something for everybody," Dollar said.

That includes dancing and music and arts and crafts and performers and an artist from Boston recently visited and left some of his work behind.

"He will be leaving 15 specially designed acorn paintings throughout the festival, and if you find one you can keep it," Dollar said.

You can buy buttons for $9 in advance. On New Year's Eve, they are $10 for kids and $12 for adults.

Click here for the full First Night Raleigh schedule (.pdf)

Click here for map and directions

Click here for ticket information

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