Try out First Night Raleigh 2012. The New Year's Eve celebration, First Night Raleigh 2012 is celebrating its 21st year. This year’s First Night Raleigh festival takes on a French-inspired theme. Many of the celebration’s dozens of performances and activities have been designed to reflect French influences. Forget about spending New Year’s Eve in your apartment in Raleigh, NC; head to downtown Raleigh for a fun-filled event. "All Day Passes" are on sale now.
The 21st annual New Year’s Eve arts festival will take place on Saturday, December 31, 2011, in a 20+ block area of downtown Raleigh. The festivities start with a children's celebration at the state history and natural science museums. Kids can participate in hands-on crafts creating impressionist paintings, making miniature sailboats and decorating their own versions of the Eiffel Tower. "The Owl Tree," an interactive sculpture, encourages you to make a wish for the coming year. There will also be circus performers, storytellers, giant puppets and more. A mini French film festival will take place inside the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences. There will be a screening of "Madeline" at 4:30 p.m.
The biggest plan for it is a 90-foot Ferris wheel, which festival organizers are calling La Grand Roue de Raleigh, like La Grand Roue de Paris, the large Ferris wheel in Paris.
The People's Procession takes the party from the museums to Fayetteville Street for an early countdown at 7 p.m. with live music, fireworks and the descent of the Raleigh Acorn. There's a countdown, acorn drop and fireworks at midnight too.