RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's capital city is ready for its annual acorn drop to usher in the New Year after a city crew had its own accidental acorn drop about 10 days early.

Artist David Benson designed the acorn for Raleigh in 1991. He has been rushing to repair it since a city crew dropped it a few days before Christmas while taking it for a cleaning.

Benson says it took about 60 hours to put new panels on the giant acorn for the First Night Raleigh celebration.

Benson said Friday the big nut is ready to drop - first at 7 p.m. New Year's Eve for a children's celebration and again at the stroke of midnight to ring in 2018.

Raleigh's acorn celebrates the city's nickname as The City of Oaks.