When: Thu., Dec. 31 2015
FIRST NIGHT RALEIGH
VARIOUS VENUES, DOWNTOWN RALEIGH
THURSDAY, DEC. 31
In a year, First Night Raleigh will celebrate not only the start of 2017 but also the end of its first quarter-century as the largest New Year's event in the Triangle. Of course, the landscape of area downtowns, particularly Raleigh, has changed considerably during that period, so what was once something like a government-office oasis and nightclub void now thrives both day and night. So when, you might wonder, will some private entity emerge to stage a rival, alternate counterpart for First Night Raleigh—a massive concert or block party, perhaps something a bit less family-focused and more consistent with the evening's widespread revelry?
Not this year, at least, when First Night Raleigh remains the biggest bash in the region by a factor of about 10. Organizers have worked faithfully during the last two decades to keep reinventing the event, or at least adding enough attractions to make it relevant to changing demographics and younger audiences. This year, for instance, there's an "Indie Rock Stage" featuring See Gulls and T0W3RS (too bad it's in Vintage's hipster-baiting church...) and a Mexican folk music dancing troupe in addition to blues, country and ballroom dancing. There's comedy, henna tattoos, a Ferris wheel, something like The Scrambler that's called The Sizzler, an Andy Griffith movie marathon (but with only two movies?), a people's procession at dusk and horse-drawn sleigh rides around the Capitol. The best addition might just be a supreme piece of North Carolina General Assembly trolling, a pop-up "wedding chapel" where folks are encouraged to marry their pets. Happy New Year, Amendment One! 2 p.m.midnight, $10$14, 919-832-8699, www.firstnightraleigh.com. —Grayson Haver Currin