About First Night Raleigh
In the summer of 1990, Artsplosure’s Board of Directors committed to creating a special community New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown. First Night Raleigh was born, under the direction of Ann Smith, joining other cities worldwide in a joyful, family-oriented, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration of the arts. Admission buttons, worn proudly by participants, make First Night Raleigh the most accessible, inexpensive and safe way to celebrate the New Year. Attendance was estimated for First Night Raleigh ‘92 at 15,000-20,000 on December 31, 1991. This amazing public response paved the way for plans to produce a bigger, more spectacular First Night Raleigh in years to come. The event has grown to be the largest New Year’s Eve event held in eastern North Carolina. Recent First Night celebrations have exceeded all expectations with attendance regularly over 40,000 people. The city’s Millennium Celebration culminated with First Night Raleigh 2000, and attracted 75,000 people from all over the state.
First Night came into existence in Boston, MA in 1976 at the end of the country’s Bicentennial Celebration, to bring the neighboring communities of the city together in a joint celebration, while providing the public with an alternative way of ushering in the New Year. Since 1980, the concept has inspired many communities to start their own First Night celebrations in the United States from Cape Cod to Honolulu, plus Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Current First Night cities across the country are able to offer mutual support and gain insight through the efforts of First Night, Inc. and First Night USA — The National Association of Community-based New Year’s Eve Arts Festivals.
First Night Raleigh 2010 Production Team
Executive Director, Michael Lowder
Program Director, Terri Dollar
Marketing & Promotions Manager, Jackie Smith
Operations Manager, Dylan Morris
Bookkeeper & Volunteer Coordinator, Glynda Westerbeek
Children’s Celebration Coordinator, Chase Bryan
Artsplosure Intern, , Chelsea Gregg
Technical Supervisor, Kemp English
Signage, The Sign Shop of the Triangle
Honorary Chairs, Sara Lynn & K.D. Kennedy, Jr.
First Night Raleigh 2009-2010 Board of Directors
Clymer Cease, President
Woody Dicus, Vice President
Crystal Sadler, Secretary
Tom Hester , Treasurer
Helen H. White, Immediate Past President
Ann-Cabell Baum Andersen
John T. Jenkins II
Lee M. Kirby, Jr.
Pearl Wilson Smith
Artsplosure, The Raleigh Arts Festival
336 Fayetteville Street, Suite 405
Raleigh, NC 27601