36 Bizarre Things Ceremonially Dropped on New Year’s Eve

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Image credit: Matt Smith/Express-Times /Landov

Don’t live anywhere near New York City, but still desperate to see something - anything - drop during a countdown to 2013 on New Year’s Eve?

We can help. (Well, we can help some of you. You might have to go on a road trip.) Check out these places that have put their own twists on the rather odd tradition of hoisting a random, giant object up in the air to celebrate the beginning of a new year.

1. A giant Peep in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Peeps’ parent company, Just Born, calls the eastern Pennsylvania town home. Though Peeps come in shapes to suit every holiday these days, the drop is done with a traditional chick that flashes different colors at midnight.

2. A 3-foot tall, 30-pound wooden flea in Eastover, North Carolina. Yeah, it’s a real head scratcher, unless you know that the town was called Flea Hill until the 1920s. I don’t know about you, but I think I’d let that nickname die.

3. A 350-pound electronic Moon Pie in Mobile, Alabama.

Why a Moon Pie? According to PR Newswire, the tasty snack cake is the “favored throw” at the Mardi Gras parade (never mind that whole bead thing), which originated in Mobile. Call me crazy, but I think they need to switch to a real 350-pound Moon Pie.

4. A real (dead) carp in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Most carp don’t see 15 seconds of fame, let alone 15 minutes. But every year in Prairie du Chien, Lucky the Carp is the center of attention when he’s lowered onto a throne to celebrate the new year. It’s the culmination of a week of activities, which includes events such as hanging carp ornaments on a pine tree, the Carp Plunge (like a polar bear plunge) and busting open a carp piñata. As far as we know, the piñata contains candy, not carp.

5. An olive in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It descends from the top of Price Tower, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building, and falls neatly into a martini glass.

6. A beach ball in Panama City Beach, Florida. Paying homage to the tourist industry that keeps the town hopping, Panama City Beach drops their 800-pound beach ball at midnight. Those who prefer beach balls of the non-deadly variety can attend the children’s drop at 8:30, when hundreds of inflatables are released from overhead nets.

7. A cherry blossom in Macon, Georgia. Perhaps, like me, you thought Washington, D.C., was the cherry blossom hotspot of the U.S. Like me, you’d be wrong. Macon actually boasts way more cherry trees than D.C. does - to the tune of about 300,000 trees in all.

8. A pineapple in Honolulu, Hawaii. Though this ritual is just a year old, the Kahala Hotel hopes that dropping a large version of Hawaii’s signature fruit will become a state tradition.

9. A sardine in Eastport, Maine. The area has sardine fishing and canning roots, but Eastport also drops a Maple Leaf as a friendly gesture to their Canadian neighbors across the bay.

10. A wrench in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Get it? Mechanicsburg?

11. A glowing duck decoy in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Havre de Grace boasts a Pat Vincenti Duck Decoy store. It's also home to the Duck Decoy Museum.

12. A peach in Atlanta, Georgia. Go figure, right?

13. A glowing pinecone in Flagstaff, Arizona. In case you’re missing the connection, here’s a bit of trivia for you: Flagstaff sits in one of the largest Ponderosa Pine forests in the world. The town has come a long way from the garbage can with pinecones glued on it that was used during the drop's inaugural year in 1999 - see for yourself:

14. An apple in Manhattan, Kansas. Paying homage to their “Little Apple” nickname, Manhattan drops a brightly-lit Red Delicious.

15. A big chunk of cheese in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Sadly, it’s not real dairy, but merely an 80-pound brick of styrofoam sprayed yellow.

16. A drag queen in a large red high heel in Key West, Florida. Her name is Sushi (the drag queen, not the stiletto). If that’s not your cup of tea, you have other options in Key West: they also drop a six-foot conch shell and a pirate wench.

17. Two hundred pounds of bologna in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, the home of Lebanon bologna.

18. Coal in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. As you might suspect, Shamokin is a coal mining town proud of its heritage.

19. An onion in St. George’s, Bermuda, to celebrate Bermuda’s onion export industry.

20. Chuck the Chicken in Gainesville, Georgia. Rest assured, the chicken capital of the world doesn’t drop a live chicken.

21. Marshall the Muskrat in Princess Anne, Maryland. As if dropping a giant rodent wasn’t unique enough, Princess Anne has decked the stuffed Marshall out in a top hat and bow tie. No, Princess Anne isn’t the hometown of Captain and Tennille. The humble muskrat has been a target for trappers in the area since humans first inhabited it. Image Credit: Princess Anne Main Street Partnership, Baltimore Sun

22. A 10-foot Gibson Guitar in Niagara, New York. Courtesy of the Hard Rock Cafe, this mammoth instrument is fairly new to the New Year’s Eve scene: this will be its fourth annual drop.

23. A live possum in a cage in Brasstown, North Carolina, the possum capital of the world. Though the little guy was fed and released post-drop, PETA successfully stopped the town from using a live animal this year. Word has it that a stuffed animal or possibly even roadkill will be used in its place. After all, nothing says “Happy New Year” like a dead possum.

24. A pickle in Mt. Olive, North Carolina. For the 14th year in a row, a briny, 3-foot, lighted cucumber will drop down the flagpole at midnight Greenwich Mean Time. That’s 7 p.m. eastern. (“That way, we are official, we shout Happy New Year! - and we don't have to stay up until midnight,” says the Mount Olive website.)

25. An acorn in Raleigh, North Carolina. It would take a Godzilla-like squirrel to carry away this 10-foot-tall nut made of 1,250 pounds of copper and steel. Regular-sized squirrels can have a go at it, though: The acorn lives in Moore Square the other 364 days of the year and was created by sculptor David Benson to celebrate the City of Oaks.

26. Yellow breeches in Lower Allen Township, Pennsylvania. Lower Allen Township wins for the quirkiest drop, in my opinion. The five-foot-tall Bunyan-sized britches honor the local Yellow Breeches Creek.

27. An Edison bulb in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. For the first time ever, citizens of Sunbury will honor Thomas Edison for his 1883 experiment at the City Hotel (now the Edison Hotel). It resulted in the installation of the first three-wire, overhead electrical system installed in a commercial building anywhere in the world.
Image credit: Justin Strawser/Newsitem.com

28. A golf ball in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Fittingly, the Sea Pines Resort drops a oversized golf ball from the Harbour Town Lighthouse.

29. The deuce of clubs in Show Low, Arizona. Last year marked the first time the city of Show Low got into the New Year’s object-drop game. According to city legend, the city was named when two feuding men decided to draw cards to decide who had to leave town. “If you show low, you win,” was the game, and the winner turned over the deuce of clubs.

30. A $14, two-foot-wide metal ball lowered by a 1961 Ford Econoline truck in Twin Falls, Idaho. In past years, local bar owner Dave Woodhead has rigged his cheap auction find to drop 80 feet from a grain silo using a pulley system and his old pickup truck. I can’t find much on whether the tradition is scheduled to continue this year, so if any Twin Falls residents are reading, let us know!

What Goes Up...

What goes up, stays up... at least when it comes to these objects that are raised instead of dropped.

31. The elevator at the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington.

32. An orange wearing sunglasses in Miami, Florida.

33. A watermelon ball in Vincennes, Indiana. When it gets to the top, the ball opens to release 12 real watermelons, making a mess that would make Gallagher proud in the splash zone below.

34. A giant Hershey’s Kiss in Hershey, Pennsylvania (of course).

35. The Queen Charlotte Crown in Charlotte, North Carolina. For those of us who aren’t well-schooled in city nicknames, Charlotte is sometimes known as the Queen City because Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was Queen consort of Great Britain when the city was incorporated. The crown is raised 25 feet in uptown Charlotte.

36. Tower of the Americas, San Antonio, Texas. When the illuminated glass elevator hits the top of the Tower at midnight, it sets off a magnificent fireworks display that lasts for more than 10 minutes.

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December 31, 2012 - 5:49am
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