Drop everything! 19 quirky New Year’s Eve events
Can’t make it to Times Square on New Year’s Eve? Worry not — chances are there’s a celebration closer to your home.
Communities across the United States are ringing in 2019 with homegrown variations on New York’s legendary ball drop. Celebrating with bologna or beach balls may be a far cry from watching the Waterford crystal ball in Times Square, but smaller celebrations reflect local traditions and civic pride.
Here are 19 destinations with their own takes on New Year’s Eve drops:
1. Tallapoosa, Georgia: Possum drop
In this West Georgia town, which was once called “Possum Snout,” a stuffed possum is lowered inside a ball festooned with lights from one of Tallapoosa’s oldest buildings.
2. Mobile, Alabama: MoonPie drop
This celebration on Alabama’s Gulf Coast honors the iconic Southern snack made of marshmallow and graham cracker and covered in chocolate.
Festivities start with the cutting of the world’s largest edible MoonPie and a second-line parade, followed by musical performances before the 600-pound electric MoonPie drops.
3. Flagstaff, Arizona: Pine cone drop
The pine cone represents Flagstaff’s location in North America’s largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest.
The 6-foot illuminated aluminum pine cone is lowered from the roof of the historic Weatherford Hotel twice: first at 10 p.m. to coincide with New York’s Times Square celebration, and again at midnight to mark Arizona’s big moment.
4. Temecula Valley, California: Grape drop
A cluster of grapes is an appropriate centerpiece for a New Year’s celebration in Southern California wine country. The illuminated cluster descends 65 feet from the third-story patio of the Civic Center clock tower.
Partygoers begin to gather at nightfall for live music, before the grapes descend with both an East Coast and West Coast countdown.
5. Key West, Florida: A few to choose from!
Leave it to Key West to come up with multiple, eccentric drops.
One: A stewardess takes flight
A restaurant in a historic building known as the birthplace of Pan American World Airways hosts the newest soiree in Key West’s busy New Year’s Eve lineup. First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery pays homage to its aviation roots with a Gatsby-themed party culminating in the descent of a makeshift airplane carrying a Pan Am flight attendant, or stewardess as they were called in the defunct airline’s heyday.
Two: Red high heel drop
Famed drag queen Gary “Sushi” descends in a giant red high heel shoe from the balcony of the Bourbon St. Pub. VIP balcony tickets usually sell out fast, and Duval Street is jammed with people who party into the wee hours.
Three: Lowering of the pirate wench
Visit the tall ship America 2.0 in front of Schooner Wharf Bar to see “pirate wench” and bar owner Evalena Worthington descend the ship’s mast.
Four: Conch shell drop
The conch shell is an enduring symbol of Key West, and this drop happens above Sloppy Joe’s.
Five: Key lime wedge
The Ocean Key Resort has a fake Key lime wedge splashing into a giant margarita glass.
Six: Tuna drop
If you can’t make it to the Smokin Tuna Saloon before midnight, you can try watching their tuna cam for a live stream of its tuna drop.
6. Panama City Beach, Florida: Beach ball drop
Party central of the Florida Panhandle has two countdowns.
The first is at 8 p.m. for the younger crowd, in which 10,000 inflatable beach balls are dropped from overhead, followed by fireworks. The second one is the midnight countdown, which involves an 800-pound LED-lit beach ball being lowered for the countdown to the new year, followed by more fireworks.
Both take place at Panama City Beach’s Pier Park, and musical acts are lined up.
7. Boise, Idaho: Potato drop
At Idaho’s annual Potato Drop, “Spec-Taters” gather at the capitol building in Boise for the lowering of a fiberglass GlowTato.
In addition to the fireworks and potato drop (the slogan is #DropItLikeItsHot), there are wrestling matches, an ice sculpture show, snow park, live music and a dance floor.
8. Vincennes, Indiana: Watermelon drop
Folks in Vincennes, Indiana, celebrate their locally renowned melons on New Year’s Eve with a watermelon drop.
Instead of slowly lowering a glittering sculpture of a melon (boring!), they drop a bunch of actual watermelons onto a raised wooden “splatform.”
You can also catch live music in a heated tent in this southwestern Indiana town on the shores of the Wabash River across from Illinois.
9. Hagerstown, Maryland: Donut drop
Krumpe’s Do-nuts’ is a Hagerstown institution, and its glazed variety is the focal point of this family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration.
Festivities begin at 5 p.m. with free doughnuts and hot chocolate, and end at 7 p.m. with the 6-foot, 300-pound replica descending down the Hagerstown clock tower.
10. Princess Anne, Maryland: Muskrat ‘dive’ in
The muskrat was trapped for pelts and meat for generations in the Chesapeake Bay region, making it a prime candidate for a New Year’s Eve mascot. Marshall Muskrat glides down a zip line in a top hat and cape during Midnight Muskrat Dive.
11. Savannah, Georgia: Up the cup
In a twist, Savannah raises a giant to-go cup, instead of dropping one. The tradition is a nod to the city’s laws that allow pedestrians to carry alcohol in the streets in to-go cups.
12. Mount Olive, North Carolina: Pickle drop
The home of Mt. Olive Pickle Company drops a 3-foot glowing pickle down a flagpole into a pickle tank outside its headquarters at Cucumber Boulevard and Vine Street.
This drop starts early at 7 p.m. ET — that’s midnight Greenwich Mean Time — letting kids and early-to-bed adults join in the fun. There’s also a canned food drive to help feed hungry neighbors.
13. Port Clinton, Ohio: Walleye drop
In the Walleye Capital of the World, located on the Ohio shoreline of Lake Erie, residents reel in the New Year with a 20-foot, 600-pound fiberglass fish modeled after the town mascot, Wylie the Walleye.
Walleye Madness at Midnight begins in the afternoon with a “minnow drop” for children and culminates in the lowering of Wylie before midnight, followed by fireworks.
14. Lebanon, Pennsylvania: Bologna drop
The home of Lebanon bologna — not to be confused with minced bologna — is adding a papier-mache Bologna Ranger mascot to its festivities in 2018. The ranger will hold the town’s signature sandwich meat — albeit a smaller version than in previous years, when it reached up to 200 lbs and 12 feet in length.
Organizers promise dancing and food as part of festivities, including, of course, free bologna sandwiches.
15. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Wrench drop
This small town west of Harrisburg drops a galvanized steel wrench that commemorates the mechanics who settled in the area to repair wagons traveling west after crossing the Susquehanna River. It’s the result of an Eagle Scout project by a Mechanicsburg Area School District graduate.
16. Folly Beach, South Carolina: Flip flop drop
An oversized pair of brightly lit flip-flops is dropped in honor of this coastal community’s beachy footwear. The countdown is followed by a fireworks display.
17. Plymouth, Wisconsin: Big cheese drop
The Big Cheese Drop honors the region’s history as former home of the National Cheese Exchange, which helped establish cheese prices until 1955.
The 80-pound metal wedge is lowered from a 100-foot truck ladder. The lowering at the Plymouth Arts Center concludes at 10 p.m. to make it a family-friendly affair, but the wine-and-cheese partying continues with a toast at midnight.
18. Atlanta, Georgia: Peach drop
A giant 800-lb peach is the centerpiece of the celebration, as a symbol of the state’s official fruit.
19. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: PEEPS Chick Drop
The home of the marshmallow candy brand rings in the New Year with a giant replica of its iconic sweet treat. Weighing around 400 pounds and standing four feet and nine inches tall, the chick drops at a kid-friendly time of 5:15 p.m.