9 Other Objects We Drop on New Year’s
Everyone knows about the ball that drops in New York City’s Times Square to mark the start of a new calendar year. What you may not realize, though, is that other cities around the nation have similar traditions that entertain and enthrall their local communities. Here’s a look at some of the odder traditions that will be taking place in America on New Year’s Eve:
“The Big Orange” helps mark Florida’s 500th anniversary in style on Monday night. It’s the 26th year that Hotel InterContinental will host the descent of a 35-foot neon orange sign from 400 feet in the air. This year’s event also features a historical re-enactment of Ponce de Leon’s first steps in Florida.For this year’s celebration, the orange has been renamed in Spanish “La Gran Naranja.” Spanish explorers brought oranges and other citrus fruits to the continent.
Bangor’s beach ball
Since 2005, this Maine city has made a party of the new year by asking everyone to get into character and the spirit of a tropical island. The whole party culminates with the dropping of a beach ball covered in Christmas lights. The local civic center gets decorated in beach themes, and people hang around in beach chairs wearing traditional Hawaiian garb and leis. Bear in mind, it’s Maine in December, so these people are probably freezing cold.
Niagara Falls’s guitar
Hard Rock Cafe knows how to party with its annual 10-foot Gibson guitar drop. For the fourth year in a row, organizers will try to outdo the previous one, which means this year there’s a free outdoor concert from the likes of Everclear and Eve 6. The celebration will end fittingly with the guitar break. Now that’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.
A 1,200-pound steel acorn, completely adorned with lights, is dropped each year at midnight. It’s part of a downtown celebration that includes 20 blocks of live music, dance, comedy, and art. This year organizers brought in a 90-foot Ferris wheel to delight children and adults alike.
Flagstaff’s pine cone
The Arizona city rings in the new year with a giant holiday ornament: a six-foot tall, 70-pound, LED-lighted pine cone that hangs from the top of the Weatherford Hotel. It’s a tradition that dates back 14 years. This emblem has its work cut out for it. There will actually be two separate drops — one scheduled for 10 p.m. to coincide with East Coast celebrations, and one at midnight Arizona time.
Wisconsin is known for its cheese, and local residents have seemingly embraced that recognition by dealing almost exclusively with their dairy identity. An 80-pound Sartori cheese wedge drops at the stroke of midnight each year from a ladder truck. It’s all part of a lighthearted celebration that includes free arts and music and complimentary hot cocoa.
It’s the small Arkansas town’s big night complete with an arts festival, musical performances, belly dancing, performers, and more. But once midnight rolls around everyone’s attention turns to the annual “Hog Drop,” when a 10-foot long and 6-feet tall fiberglass sculpture of a pig comes shooting down.
Mobile’s moon pie
Alabama knows its Southern cooking is a big draw, so moon pie is the fitting thing to drop on New Year’s Eve. This is the fifth year the pie has made an appearance at the festivities. Believe it or not, Mardi Gras can be traced back to 1703 in Mobile, not New Orleans, and this city honors its food and cultural heritage by tossing moon pies at an annual city parade. On New Year’s Eve, moon pies are front and center again.
Havre de Grace’s duck
This Maryland town has decided that this year’s celebration should be oriented around breast cancer awareness and transformed everything, including its famed duck, to be pink as a show of support for those whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. Past years have honored the War of 1812 or marked the September 11 attacks. Much of the proceeds from the night will go toward the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. The (electric) Duck Drop usually draws between 500 and 1,000 people, and organizers are hopeful that this year’s event will be both memorable and helpful.