Raleigh acorn getting a facelift for New Year's Eve celebration

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- In the early morning fog, a very nutty sight appeared in downtown Raleigh.

"It's really the first thing that makes us realize that we're almost here for the new year season," said Cameron Laws with Artsplosure/First Night Raleigh.

This morning, the Raleigh acorn left its stand at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts lawn to get a quick facelift before it takes center stage.

"New Year's Eve is so festive and we want it to be nice and bright and shiny as we ring in a new year together," Laws said.

Constructed out of copper and steel in 1991, the acorn will drop while the city of Raleigh counts down to the New Year. Every year, it's removed and taken to its designer David Benson, who polishes the 1200-pound sculpture. But this process hasn't always been an easy one.

Two years ago, city crews nearly cracked the acorn-dropping and damaging it. For some, it's now nerve-wracking to watch.

"I'm always a little reluctant whenever we're moving art," said Stacy Rexrode, Office of Raleigh Arts. "But I have to say we've definitely worked out this process."

But Southern Crane says they're up for the task.

"We kind of feel the pressure but my guys, they're into pressure anyway. That's the name of the game in the crane world," said Gary Brown, Southern Crane.

In less than an hour, the job was done. The acorn went off to get ready for its big night.

There will be an early New Year countdown at 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Then the traditional countdown will take place at midnight.
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