First Night Raleigh organizers expecting thousands of attendees

Michael Perchick Image
Thursday, December 28, 2023
First Night Raleigh organizers expecting thousands of attendees
"Fun mix of tradition and then new things you've never seen at our event before"

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Stephen Klingman recalls attending First Night Raleigh as a child. Sunday night, he'll be one of the performers.

"I'm grateful to be there. I grew up in Raleigh, so this is a cool thing to be a part of," said Klingman. "I've seen it go on every year and I know a lot of the artists that are going to be on the bill too.

He'll be playing music alongside CJ Monét at The Self Care Market Place.

"I'll be singing a lot of my original music, which is R&B, neo-soul, and it's all written by me. So it's super authentic to my emotions and my life, and hopefully, that emotion can resonate with people as well and just bring in the New Year in a way that's really cleansing and healing," said Monét.

Following Monét and Klingman on-stage is Tanajah.

"To be able to not only represent hip-hop, but a woman in hip-hop, it was a huge honor," said Tanajah.

Like Klingman, Tanajah has previously attended First Night. Fresh off spending more than two months performing in Denmark, Tanajah is grateful for the opportunity.

"We're just going to be doing some hip-hop mantras, hip-hop meditation and just good feels and good vibes," Tanajah said.

If you're in the mood for laughs, ComedyWorx is hosting both improv shows and stand-up comics at the Transfer Co. Food Hall ballroom.

"New Year's Eve is typically for the 21 and up crowd. And we've got young parents with children that still want to do something to celebrate the new year because we're offering those shows again at seven, eight, and nine. They're all family-friendly. This is a way to celebrate with the kiddos and then get them home and in bed before the acorn drops," said Jenn Bianchi, the Artistic Director at ComedyWorx.

Tickets to attend indoor venues cost $16; tickets are also needed to ride the Ferris Wheel and the Tesla AC ride. However, it's free to watch outdoor musical performances and enjoy other offerings like 25 food vendors and a photo booth.

"This event is this really fun mix of tradition and then new things you've never seen at our event before. And this year is no exception," said Cameron Laws, Creative Director for First Night Raleigh.

DJ Rickey Smith begins the fun at 2 p.m., the first of three sets in the afternoon, which has dancing activities for children. At 6 p.m., the People's Procession featuring bands, will make its way from Bicentennial Plaza down Salisbury Street, before ending up at the intersection of Davie and Fayetteville Streets. There will be a 7 p.m. Acorn Drop and Fireworks, also geared towards kids.

"It's just this really unique opportunity for everyone to come together in the spirit of positivity and new beginnings," said Laws.

The second acorn drop will align with the countdown to midnight.

Fayetteville Street between Morgan and Martin Streets and Hargett Street between Salisbury and Wilmington Streets will be closed beginning at 9 a.m. Friday through noon on New Year's Day.

Fayetteville between Martin and Lenoir Street, and Davie Street and Martin Street between Salisbury Street and Wilmington Street will be closed from 6 a.m. on New Year's Eve until 6 a.m. on New Year's Day.

Lenoir Street and South Street between Salisbury and Wilmington Streets will be closed from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve and from 11:30 p.m. New Year's Eve to 12:30 a.m. New Year's Day on Jan. 1 for fireworks.