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Ashley And Bonner Gaylord Announced As Honorary Chairs Of  First Night Raleigh 2016

Lori Vitale, President of the Artsplosure Board of Directors, today announced that Raleigh City Councilor Bonner Gaylord and his wife Ashley are the honorary chairs for Artsplosure’s 25th presentation of First Night Raleigh in downtown Raleigh. This year’s New Year’s Eve festival’s theme is “Celebrating North Carolina Firsts.”

In making the announcement, Vitale lauded Gaylord’s strong support of the city’s arts and cultural resources both in his role on City Council and in his professional position as General Manager of North Hills, which boasts an impressive array of annual arts events.

“First Night Raleigh is one of Raleigh’s premier events, bringing great art and entertainment downtown for all to enjoy. It brings out the best in our City!” said Gaylord.

A MBA graduate of UNC-CH’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and lifelong Raleigh resident, Gaylord co-founded the technology initiative CityCamp Raleigh and has served on the Wake Transit Advisory Committee, Transportation for America, Shop Local Raleigh, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and North Carolina, Wildacres Leadership Initiative, and the Urban Land Institute, among civic involvements and leadership roles. Ashley Gaylord, a Washington, NC native, graduated from St. Mary’s Junior College and UNC-CH and worked in real estate. She is an active volunteer at the schools of her and Bonner’s three children.

This year’s First Night Raleigh festivities kick off at 2:00 pm with the Children’s Celebration at N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and outdoors on the Bicentennial Plaza. Parents can have their children ring in the New Year with the Early Countdown at 7:00 pm.

Also starting at 2:00 pm is First Night’s newest addition, an interactive art installation called Art Putt. The exhibit features a playable course of nine miniature golf holes created by local artists.

Performances at the Main Stage begin at 5:00 pm. Later into the night, the streets of Raleigh come alive with performances in over 20 blocks of downtown Raleigh and a First Night tradition, the People’s Procession at 6:00 pm. The celebration will culminate in City Plaza as the famous Raleigh acorn drops while fireworks are shot off into the night sky.

A complete list of the full lineup can be found at, with admission going on sale December 1 for $10* when purchased in advance.

*Plus local and state sales tax.

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