I’m not certain who started it, my guess is probably the New Years Eve Times Square party in 1908 when they lowered a crystal ball down a pole starting at one minute to midnight to celebrate the beginning of the new year. Since then all over North America other towns have decided to drop their own balls (and/or other items) to ring in the new year. The ball or ball substitute often is chosen to be unique to the local culture, so here are some that can make you question the word “culture” like an anthropologist observing a lost civilization.
Eastport, Maine – Maple Leaf
The folks of Eastport, Maine drop a Maple Leaf down a flag pole at 11 pm to celebrate Midnight in the Canadian Maritime, who are on Atlantic Time, then drop a “Great Sardine” to celebrate in Eastern Time in Freeport, Maine.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – Peep
The peeps in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (home of everyone’s favorite marshmallow Easter treat) drop a 100-pound glowing yellow Peep. The Peep drop is part of a festival known as Peepfest to celebrate everything we love about the creations of Just Born Quality Confections.
Plymouth, Wisconsin – Big Cheese
Well don’t ya know, the people of Plymouth, Wisconsin gather for the Big Cheese Drop as they munch on complimentary cheese hors d’oeuvres and watch an 80-pound decorated cheese wedge descend from a ladder truck to great applause.
Hagerstown, Maryland – Donut
You’d imagine Homer Simpson would be a big fan of this one, in Hagerstown, Maryland –The Donut Drop. The main square in this western Maryland town becomes the center of attention as a massive donut is lowered to celebrate the new year. This just in: This year the donut will drop into a massive cup of coffee.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Ball Raise
We couldn’t leave our new hometown off the list, could we? Pittsburgh’s countdown to the New Year doesn’t lower anything; the ball is raised. The ball atop Penn Avenue Place goes up, and then the fireworks go off. You knew there’d be fireworks, right?
Wherever you are and whatever you drop (or raise) we hope you have a happy and safe New Year.