RALEIGH: Crowds pack downtown for First Night Raleigh - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Crowds pack downtown for First Night Raleigh

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"New York has a ball, Raleigh has an acorn. And it's a beautiful copper acorn!" said First Night Raleigh planner Terri Dollar. "New York has a ball, Raleigh has an acorn. And it's a beautiful copper acorn!" said First Night Raleigh planner Terri Dollar.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Large crowds moved through downtown Raleigh to ring in 2014.

"I've never been to anything like this. I'm really excited to see the acorn drop. Hopefully dance a little!" said First Night attendee Lindsay Byers. 

First Night Raleigh, now in its 23rd year, is an annual Raleigh tradition presented by Artsplosure celebrating the new year.

This year's event featured Big Sam's Funky Nation headlining the main stage on City Plaza leading up to the countdown to midnight and dropping of Raleigh's giant copper acorn hosted by local actor and director Ira David Wood III.

Prior to the midnight countdown and acorn drop, an early countdown was hosted for the kids who have to go to bed early.

The early countdown rang in 2014 for kids at 7 p.m.

"New York has a ball, Raleigh has an acorn. And it's a beautiful copper acorn!" said planner Terri Dollar.

This year's theme was "Experience New Year's Eve around the World" and featured artists from the U.K., China, Belize, South Africa, India and Prince Edward Island, Canada, appearing across 34 venues spanning 24 blocks of downtown Raleigh.

"I just like all the people the bands. It's all really unique. I haven't heard of any of the bands that were playing," said Fight Night patron Ryan Chapman.

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