Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker will not only welcome revelers to the annual New Year's Eve celebration in downtown -- he'll also help preside over the party.
Meeker and his wife, Anne McLaurin, a former member of the Wake County school board, were announced Tuesday as honorary co-chairs for this year's First Night Raleigh arts festival produced by the local nonprofit Artsplosure.
Festival organizers lauded Meeker for his support of the arts over a five-term tenure that ended last year when the Boylan Heights Democrat chose not to seek re-election. McLaurin also stepped down from the school board at the end of her term.
The festival begins on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. with the Children’s Celebration at the state Museums of History and Natural Sciences, in the new Nature Research Center and on Bicentennial Plaza.
The evening portion kicks off with the People’s Procession at 6 p.m. and a family-
oriented early countdown ceremony with fireworks at 7.
Music, dance, comedy and other performances will bring to life three-dozen venues around downtown. First Night concludes with the Countdown to Midnight highlighted by the descent of the Raleigh Acorn and, of course, fireworks.
A complete list of artists and performers will be announced in the coming days. Admission passes will go on sale Dec. 1 for $9 in advance and will provide access to all First Night activities.