RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Goodbye 2023 and hello 2024. Thousands gathered across central North Carolina on Sunday night to ring in the new year.
First Night Raleigh took place on Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh. It was the biggest party in the area, with tons of food, fun and festivities -- all culminating in the traditional acorn drop and fireworks show at midnight.
The party also included a Ferris wheel and Tesla ride
Before the big celebration, younger partygoers and their families enjoyed a pre-midnight countdown that included a little acorn drop at 7 p.m.
The People's Processional led by Paperhand Puppet Intervention, the Helping Hands Mission band, and the NC State University pip and drum team took place earlier in the evening at Bicentennial Plaza and ended at the intersection of Davie Street and Fayetteville Street.
ABC11 spoke with families as they took advantage of the festivities during the event.
"The acorn drop. We are looking forward to that," said Lisa Geter. "It's going to be really fun."
In Fayetteville, families enjoyed the Fayetteville Night Circus.
Organizers for the event said people traveled from as far as Savannah to attend.
They said the goal was to bring the city together and have a safe space for families to ring in the new year.
"The whole intention behind creating a New Year's event and the sixth largest city in the state of North Carolina is to help families come together to create memories, to create a tradition," said Bianca Shoneman, Cool Spring Downtown District. "The broader goal for our city council is to improve the sense of place and livability so people love where they live just a little bit more."
Families enjoyed inflatable games, axe throwing and various food vendors.
"We are local, concessionary business," said Darryl McClain, Smokey's Food Truck operator. "We run the business out of Spring Lake. Born and raised right here in Fayetteville. So it feels good to be home to, to give back to my community. I remember I'm on the spot right here. This used to be the USO, years ago."
The celebration also featured plenty of tunes to set the vibe -- from local artist to hip hop legend DJ Spinderella and RNB music group Dru Hill, attendees found it hard to ring in 2024 without tapping their feet.
"Well, to all my folks in Fayetteville that's been following me for ages for decades," said DJ Spinderella. "I remember coming here, Salt-N-Pepa, came here back in the 80s on a tour like our probably one of our first stops and in the earlier days of our career. And, you know, to be coming here again is kind of like full circle. So hope you enjoy me."
Over in Durham, the party was more lowkey but still just as fun. Several bars and breweries hosted their own New Year's parties.
Crowds filled venues such as Ponysaurus brewing in Downtown Durham and Bull City Brewery to enjoy the many festivities ahead of midnight.
"We all kind of stick together, last year we went to Boxcar and had a pretty good time there, and otherwise we just wanted to meet up again," said Cory Stutzman.