Huge crowd expected in Raleigh for New Year’s as rain will relent

Acorn drop in Raleigh (WNCN file)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On the eve of New Year’s Eve, rain blanketed downtown Raleigh on Wednesday in a shimmery river.

But organizers and volunteers are doing their best to prepare for what will turn into a huge event. Thousands of people will be packed on Fayetteville Street Thursday for food, fun, fireworks and a falling acorn.

If you’re worried about weather for New Year’s Eve, don’t be too concerned. If there are any stray showers you can always pop inside to an event like Art Putt.

“It’s based on the First Night Raleigh theme of celebrating Carolina firsts. And so you can actually putt your way through a lot of the famous and lesser known North Carolina firsts that our state can claim,” said Cameron Laws, marketing and PR director for Artsplosure.

Art Putt will be at the City Market, but most vendors and the big Ferris wheel will be on Fayetteville Street, along with a new ride to accompany it, called the Sizzler. And organizers do want to remind folks that First Night is a family celebration.

“Obviously, the restaurants will be open on Fayetteville Street but the event itself is alcohol-free. It is family friendly- we really pride ourselves on that, but at the same time there really is something for absolutely everyone,” said Laws.

Though the main focus is on fun, security for the event takes just as much planning to make sure the acorn drop goes off without a hitch.

“Raleigh Police Department has a plan in place that we can’t share the details of. But we’ve been working with them for months on that plan and we also hire our own security. So it’s a very safe event,” said Laws.

Tickets are $10 ahead of time and $14 Thursday.

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