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See all of First Night Raleigh 2018 Evening Performances, Rides, and Interactive Activities.

Over 20 blocks of art, music, comedy, theatre, and more! over 35 venues in Downtown Raleigh! All venues are first come, first serve.

2018 Schedule

Download a printable .PDF of the First Night Raleigh Schedule:

The High Seas posing with mascot

Acapella Venue Featuring The High Seas

The High Seas: As UNCW's first a cappella club and only all-male ensemble, the High Seas are a completely student led, non-profit organization, established in 2008. They perform a wide…

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African American Dance Ensemble

You are invited to join the African American Dance Ensemble for a First Night Raleigh favorite! Celebrate community spirit to the beat of ancient rhythms. The choreographic works of the…

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Amythyst Kiah promo photo

Amythyst Kiah

A professed Southern Gothic songster based in Johnson City, TN, Amythyst Kiah’s commanding stage presence is only matched by her raw and powerful vocals—a deeply moving, hypnotic sound that stirs…

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Brien Engel playing water glasses

Brien Engel – Glass Harp

Brien Engel is part of an exciting new community helping to revive and promote the enchanting art of glass music. His glass harp is comprised of goblets and snifters of…

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Cane Mill Road band members holding instruments on dirt road in the woods

Cane Mill Road

Cane Mill Road: Billboard-charting band Cane Mill Road rocks the bluegrass they grew up on, yet boldly tackles the Beatles, Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, and more. Growing up just down the…

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Comedy Worx

Comedy Worx

Since 1989, Comedy Worx has been entertaining the Triangle area with big laughs! Each weekend, this improv group presents a show of two comedic teams that compete and try to…

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Bill Weisser at organ

Dr. William Weisser and NC Opera

Dr. William Weisser: Dr. William J. Weisser retired in 2011 as Minister of Music at Edenton St. United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC where he had been responsible for seven…

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Early Countdown to Midnight

Early Countdown

What a perfect way to end our Children's Celebration! Don't worry about keeping the kids out too late to ring in the new year – they can enjoy all of…

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Estessentials group photo


Come see the youngest troupe selected to perform in the history of the Atlanta Improv Festival, the NC Comedy Arts Festival, and now the upcoming NC Comedy Festival in Greensboro!…

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Happy Accidents performing

The Happy Accidents

Family-friendly scenes performed by Happy Accidents from Enloe High School! This award winning Improv Troupe is a First Night Raleigh favorite!

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Holy Ghost band promo shot

Holy Ghost Tent Revival

9 years, 3 genres, and 4 records into it, Holy Ghost Tent Revival’s sound has emerged as something different than anyone might have expected. The music, now filled with 3…

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IMURJ Logo on black background

IMURJ Raleigh’s Finest Showcase

Showcasing some of Raleigh's finest emerging artists, join Open Mic Night Brian Jones at the brand new Imurj creative space and show these local artists some audience appreciation. Artists have…

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The Singing Trolley with Raleigh skyline in background

Jolly Raleigh Singing Trolley

Sometimes you just have to sing on the Trolley! Join the Jolly First Night Raleigh Trolley crowd and get ready to SING! First Night attendees will have two opportunities to…

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Kate Rhudy holding guitar case outdoors

Kate Rhudy

Rock N’ Roll Ain’t For Me, this year’s debut from Raleigh singer-songwriter Kate Rhudy, reinterprets well-worn folk with a new vibrancy. “I’ve always written letters to people,” Kate Rhudy says,…

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Lumens performing


Lumens, the second original creation of the group, explores the link between virtual and reality by creating a 3D multi-screen environment projected in front of and around the audience. The…

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Maurice Lauchner promo shot wearing black suit with red flower on lapel

Maurice Lauchner Praise Band

Maurice “Man” Lauchner is one of the most soulful and distinctive voices in inspirational music today, and offers a refreshing interpretation of God’s love through song. Born in New York…

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Paul Millers Flow Circus promo shot

Paul Miller’s Flow Circus

No elephants or trapeze acts in our circus. Instead we harness the power of creative, playful flow to energize, excite, and enliven groups. We shake up the day to day…

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Bebop, the blue and all that jazz - Retro illustration of men playing music

Peter Ingram, Bee Bop Blues, Gregg Gelb, and The Triangle Youth Jazz Orchestra

Peter Ingram, Elmer Gibson, Leighton Harrell, Ray Codrington, Gregg and Kathy Gelb repeat some Jazz FIRSTS for First Night—as well as the incredible Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble. In 2016 and…

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Rozalind MacPhail playing flute

Rozalind MacPhail “From the River to the Ocean”

“It‘s easy to fall for the eclectic sounds of this creative mastermind, and you will probably get lost in your imagination while falling.“ (Rock Eden Magazine) Innovative St. John's multi-instrumentalist,…

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Seed Art Share's Illuminations

Seed Art Share

Seed Art Share returns to the streets of downtown with a brand new interactive walking-play for families! Just when we thought we had this whole New Year's Eve thing down...…

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Shana Tucker sitting on a couch in a floral and bird print dress

Shana Tucker’s ChamberSoul, Featuring Beverly Botsford

SHANA TUCKER delivers a unique voice to her self-described genre of ChamberSoul™. With a deep respect for the art of storytelling, Shana's lyrical melodies evoke strong hints of jazz, soulful…

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Bob Margolin holding guitar

Steady Rollin Bob Margolin

Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin is a Blues guitar player and singer, carrying on the deep Chicago Blues style and creating his original music today. His shows are known for deep…

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Transactors Improv Company

Transactors Improv is the longest-running improvisational theater in the south. Our work focuses on emotion, physicality, character, commitment, teamwork, and fun. The company formed in 1983 at The ArtsSchool in…

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Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble performing

Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

The Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble is based in Raleigh under the direction of Dr. Gregg Gelb, and it is one of many ensembles under the umbrella of the Philharmonic Association.…

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WRAL Countdown to Midnight - Acorn drop at midnight

WRAL Countdown to Midnight

Jam with some local media celebs and other stars with the best party music as we get ready to usher in the new year! Join your hosts, Ira David Wood…

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Animal of the Hour

Animal of the Hour

Get up close and personal with some of North Carolina’s resident creatures.

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Little boy playing the art piano

Art Piano

Play a song on one of our beautiful art pianos painted by local artists. On Bicentennial Plaza, inside the North Carolina Museum of History and the North Carolina Museum of…

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2018 Art Putt - Golf course with multi-colored starbursts, golf club, and pink type

Art Putt (Miniature Golf-Course)

Enjoy the game of miniature golf and the nine holes created by local artists at the same time! We’ve partnered with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance for this interactive art installation…

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Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom Dancing

Join USA Ballroom dancers as they provide instruction for those who want to dance. There are chairs too, if you just want to watch! Step inside the beautiful Sir Walter…

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uv lamp on table

Black Light Message Room

Go Glow Crazy and leave secret First Night messages in our Black Light Room!

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Cartoon underwater world with fish, plants, island

Cartoon Island

Take a break and relax with animated features on Cartoon Island!

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Artist painting smiley face cartoon, shot from above, elevated view.


Illustrator Gabriel Dunston will teach you how to create unique cartoon illustrations.

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pieces of chalk in all colors scattered on a table

Chalk Art Pins

Wear your unique New Year's message on a chalkboard pin!

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Dance troop of girls smiling and waving

Christy’s Dance Explosion

This Garner based Dance Studio will perform for our audiences as well as teach you how to dance into the New Year.

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Peoples Procession

Duke Energy People’s Procession

Line up beginning at 5:30pm along Edenton Street, north of the State Capitol. As the Children’s Celebration ends and the evening entertainment begins, mark the passage of time… from afternoon…

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Amusement Park Ride

F5 Amusement Ride

Thrill Ride from Powers Amusements that will make you feel the GLOW!

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First Night Ferris Wheel

Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel

Back by popular demand! Don’t miss the visual center of First Night Raleigh with our Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel! Take a spin 90 feet in the air atop the…

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Little kid with a crown in front of a brick wall

First Night Crowns

Pop into First Night Raleigh’s DIY hot spot and use an array of crafting and art supplies to make your own a party crown to wear during the Countdown to…

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Children playing with the First Night Lite Brite

First Night Lite Brite

Modeled after the pop-culture LITE BRITE toy first introduced in the late 1960′s, First Night Raleigh presents its own, larger-than-life version of this interactive, illuminating toy. Fayetteville 200 Block. Capacity:…

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Gold Leaf Sleigh Rides

Gold Leaf Sleigh Rides

Catch a ride on John Wesley Smith’s horse-drawn sleigh as it makes a loop around the historic North Carolina State Capitol. Don’t miss this annual First Night Raleigh favorite! A…

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Handlettered word "create" on notebook page with art supplies surrounding

Handlettering Demo

Hand lettering artist Olivia Gainey will turn your name into a work of art and will provide tips, tricks, and practice for beautiful lettering.

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depika Bhatt henna tatoos

Henna Tattoos

Henna artist Deepika Bhatt has been drawing in henna since she was seven years old. Born and raised in India, Deepika eventually went on to apprentice with three henna artists,…

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Jerome Fredericks School Yard Harmonics with instruments

Jerome Fredericks School Yard Harmonics

Jerome Frederick is the owner of Workforce Harmonics – a people development company. He has a reservoir of diverse experiences that, on a whim, allows him to become a very…

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Beauty colorful lantern made from recycling material.

Lantern Making

Light up the night by creating a lantern to carry in the People's Procession!

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Mr. Peck's Taekwondo students

Peck’s Taekwondo

With Peck's Taekwondo in Raleigh, you will experience a unique approach to self-defense and exercise that benefits the body, satisfies the mind and empowers you to reach and conquer your…

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Colorful fluorescent tubes lining the wall of a building in Japan form a neon rainbow like a free modern art exhibit

Neon Glow Tape Collages

Create glow-in-the-dark art with local mixed media artist Jane Cheek.

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people writing on the chalkboard at First night Raleigh

Next Year I Will Chalkboard

Write your new year's resolutions on the “Next Year I Will” chalkboard.

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Note to Self Mural on Fayetteville street in downtown Raleigh

Note-to-Self Mural Installation

Write a 'note to self' for 2018 and add it to our mural of notes from some of the North Carolina Arts Council's 50 for 50 Artists!

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2 girls typing up poetry

On Demand Poetry

Poems written just for you! Professional poets collaborate with guests to take your idea and turn it into a one-of-a-kind work of art.

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Paperhand Puppets

Paperhand Puppets Roaming

A First Night Favorite, the Paperhand Puppet Intervention is a puppet theater company based out of Saxapahaw, NC. For over fifteen years they have been creating original large-scale puppet extravaganzas…

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Pop Up Wedding Chapel

A pop up wedding chapel right in the heart of First Night Raleigh - just for fun! Renew your vows, or just pretend to get hitched! Don’t worry, you’re not…

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Dove in cosmic space. Painting and graphic design.

Professor Wizardo: the Great, the Wonderful, the Magnificent

Magic and mystics will be attending First Night Raleigh! Get your fortune told and see how your new year plans to shape up.

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Detailed, ornate drawings on the rocks. Pebble painting. Colored stones.

Raleigh Rocks Rock Painting

Raleigh Rocks First Night! Join in the fun of painting and hiding rocks with a special session of Neon painting.

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Tambourine, drums, and other musical instruments

Rhythm Instruments

Enrich your love of music by stopping by our Rhythm Instruments space to jam out!

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Robodogs collage of robots built by students


FIRST Robotics Competition Team 435 hosted by Longleaf School of the Arts. The Robodogs, FIRST Robotics Team 435, are participants in the international FIRST Robotics Competition. They are a student…

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Children doing arts and crafts

Scrap Exchange

Create a cape or hat to wear in the Children’s Celebration using recycled objects from the Scrap Exchange. The Scrap Exchange is a nonprofit, creative, reuse center whose mission is…

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Little and very beautiful girl sitting in the pram and waiting for mom

Stroller Decorating

Decorate your baby's stroller in celebration of First Night Raleigh!

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Lit up photo booth sign

First Night Raleigh Photo Booth

Capture a snap of the good time that you're having at our photo booth, created by Dare Coulter!

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Wooden box filled with trinkets

Time Capsule Making

Put together a Time Capsule chronicling this past year, and include wishes for 2018 for your family to open next New Year's Eve!

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Two toddlers in a nursery

Toddler Play Area and Story Time

This special room is designed for our youngest attendees to get out of the strollers and into the fun too!

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Resolution Oak Tree with resolutions tied to it

The Wish Tree

Tie a wish for 2018 onto our Wish Tree sculpture!

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