Unique ‘droppings’ on Dec. 31

Published 10:26 am Thursday, January 3, 2013

It’s a tradition everybody is familiar with and one that dates back to 1907. On New Year’s Eve, millions gather around their televisions while up to one million other people take to the streets of Manhattan to watch the brightly lit ball descend from the One Times Square building in Manhattan to mark the beginning of the New Year.

In 2008, the time-honored silver colored crystal ball, adorned with lights, was replaced with a colorful sphere weighing in at 11,875 pounds, double the size of previous New Year’s Eve balls.

The new energy-efficient ball has the ability to create 16 million colors and billions of unique patterns (thanks to the 2,668 Waterford Crystals and the 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LEDS on the ball) and for the first time in its more than 100 years of existence the ball will be displayed year round on the building.

When you think about it, the new ball is quite impressive, but one person it did not impress was my mom who thought the ball was just plain repulsive.

That night in 2008 as we watch the ball drop ringing in the New Year, she looked at the orb with a sneering grimace.

I could not understand her detestation for it (I still don’t understand it); because, with its ostentatious size aside, I thought it was kind of neat to see something different.

And I know it could always be worse.

Believe me, Americans just love to drop objects to ring in the New Year.

As I was researching for this column I found a list of New Year’s Eve celebrations that take “different” to a whole new level.

In the southeast part of the country, most are familiar with Atlanta, Georgia’s 800-pound peach drop, but some may not know about a Key West, Florida tradition which appropriately drops a conch shell.

Meanwhile in East Port, Maine a large sardine is dropped from the heavens and in Havre de Grace, Maryland a wooden duck ushers in the New Year.

New York City, particularly Greenwich Village, has another “drop” that doesn’t quite draw as much attention as the tradition ball event. There a lighted ukulele instead that descends for jubilant sightseers.

And if you’re in the mood for food, you can always take in Elmore, Ohio’s celebratory sausage drop or, perhaps, Terra Haute, Indiana’s watermelon (Murfreesboro should be envious).

In Mobile, Alabama a giant electric Moon Pie is raised and in New Orleans, Louisiana a gumbo pot is dropped.

The state with the most unusual celebratory New Year’s Eve droppings is by far Pennsylvania.

Bethlehem, Pa. drops a giant Peep while in Cleona, Pa. a pretzel is raised.

Ickesburg, Pennsylvania drops a French fry; Liverpool, a canal boat; Lewistown, a bag of Hartley’s potato chips; New Oxford, an antique trunk; and Strasburg, ping pong balls.

And an event my uncle would love to see in Pottsville, a bottle of Yuengling beer is raised.

As for our own state’s dropping oddities, perhaps the best one is Brasstown, North Carolina where a live opossum in a cage is lowered to usher in the New Year.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: amanda.vanderbroek@r-cnews.com or call (252) 332-7209.