Goodnight Raleigh - a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night

Welcoming 2012 in Downtown Raleigh

Rather than the typical ‘Year in Review’ posts published in years past (2009, 2010), this year Goodnight Raleigh will show the First Night celebrations downtown.

The biggest attraction this year was the ferris wheel. Artsplosure, the group which puts together First Night Raleigh each year, decided to have a French-inspired theme to this year’s celebrations.

There were several other attractions, including this giant Lite-Brite.

A French-inspired sculpture holding mistletoe (notice couple in the background)


City Plaza


Crowd in front of Progress Energy Building


Looking south on Fayetteville Street


Tribute to Rembrandt and the show at the NC Art Museum by Empire Properties

The color from the ferris wheel spilled over to Hargett Street, as well as the crowds.

Corner of Fayetteville and Hargett Streets


One of my favorite parts of the celebration was someone who is a local fixture on Hargett Street, pictured above. He’s known as the Street Genie, and we profiled him in 2008. His beautiful sounds were a perfect complement to the theme of the night.

Panoramic view of Fayetteville Street captured on my phone

I’ve only been to a few First Night celebrations over the years, but this was by far the liveliest event I’ve witnessed. Fayetteville Street was packed from the Capitol to the Auditorium–a marked change from four years ago, when most of the crowd was concentrated around the area where the acorn drops.

To all of our readers: best wishes for a prosperous 2012.

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