First Night Raleigh ready to provide "Wow Factor"

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- We may begrudge getting older, but First Night Raleigh continues to age very, very well.

The 27th edition of the annual New Year's celebration will be a historic one, involving more venues and more attractions than ever before.

"We're going for that 'Wow Factor,'" First Night's program director Terri Dollar quipped to ABC11. "You have to hear something, see something, feel something. You want all of your senses to be tickled when you come into an event."

About 4,000 people attended the first First Night Raleigh in 1992, and this year Dollar expects upwards of 75,000. She added festival-goers this year will once again ride atop the 90-foot Ferris Wheel, a centerpiece in the New Year's Eve Raleigh skyline, as well as taking a spin on another glowing Powers Amusement ride.

Also returning - albeit with a brand new design - popular interactive art installation Art Putt, a nine-hole miniature golf course with holes illuminated with neon by artist Nate Shaeffer, at the intersection of Martin and Fayetteville Street.

ALL THE DETAILS: First Night Raleigh

Other attractions include food from more than 30 vendors, plus performances by the Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Amythyst Kiah, Kate Rhudy, Cane Mill Road, LUMENS virtual reality, and more. There are also several indoor activities, including a music and light show at Marbles Museum.

Just like in years past, there will be two acorn drops, one at 7 p.m. for those who want to call it a night early and again at midnight for those who don't.

As for weather concerns, Dollar said she'd be much more worried if the forecast called for rain. "People don't like getting wet, but if it's cold bundling up is part of the fun."

Wake County EMS told ABC11 several dozen crews will be stationed throughout downtown Raleigh. District Chief Benji Currie maintains that everyone attending must not underestimate the cold temperatures, and instead layer up, and wear hats and gloves.

"Your head is where you can lose a lot of heat," Currie explained. "Anyone drinking alcohol should also beware that the effects of that alcohol may make you think you're warmer than you actually are."

You can plan your whole night on the First Night Raleigh app, available in iTunes and the Android store.
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