Welcome the New Year with a curiosity for exploring the arts! From family-friendly First Night celebrations to a swinging symphony blast in Greensboro to a traditional welcome for the Three Kings, the New Year is your chance to step out and step into the arts in North Carolina.
With roots dating back to the 1920s, the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra today brings live symphonic music to more than 100,000 people every year through its full schedule of classical, pop, and chamber concerts. It doesn’t slow down a bit on New Year’s Eve, when its Big Band Blast gets Greensboro swinging. Pianist Rich Ridenour pays tribute to the Big Band Era hits from bandleaders Count Basie and Duke Ellington while singer Kathy Wagner puts participants “In The Mood” during the performance at Greensboro’s Westover Church.
Winter Dance at the John C.
Campbell Folk School
The year-end Winter Dance Week at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown features instruction in American contras and squares, English country dancing, rapper sword dancing, couple dances, and more. It culminates in a gala New Year’s Eve dance party where you can try out your new skills, followed by a New Year’s Day breakfast.
New Year’s Eve festivities take on a unique character as they light up our state. In Charlotte, the Arts & Science Council and Visit Charlotte transform a variety of uptown locations into performance stages, dance floors, activity areas, and visual art displays where participants can experience “streetmospheric performers,” temporary public art, a people’s processional, and family-friendly festivities. And Brasstown, the Clay County home to the historic John C. Campbell Folk School, features its annual Possum Drop at midnight. The animal is safely lowered in a plastic case, assuring that he, too, will enjoy a Happy New Year.
Brasstown, home of the Possum Drop
Raleigh’s Artsplosure produces one of our state’s most arts-filled New Year’s Eve celebrations, First Night, beginning with a host of children’s activities from 2-6 p.m. and adult-oriented events starting at 7 p.m. Kids are given the opportunity to make a variety of crafts while enjoying jugglers, roving puppets, and acrobats. As the evening wears on, adults can experience a variety of live music and dance as well as theatrical improvisation as the New Year is ushered in with fireworks and the dropping of the huge copper acorn trumpeting Raleigh’s designation as “City of the Oaks.”
Three Kings at El Dia De Reyes
North Carolina’s rapidly growing Latino/Hispanic population enriches our state with its own special holiday traditions. Jan. 6 is the day the Epiphany is celebrated as El Dia De Reyes, remembering the day when the three wise men following the star to Bethlehem arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Diamante is one of the organizations dedicated to the preservation, development, and promotion of the culture, heritage, and artistic expressions of the diverse Latino population. On Jan. 3, it hosts a traditional “Three Kings Parade” at Fred G. Bond Park in Cary. More than ten countries from Latin America and the Caribbean will be represented in this celebration, featuring non-profit groups, cultural organizations, and other businesses, which will culminate in the arrival of the Three Kings.