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If you said “A big crystal ball in the middle of Times Square” and thought you were done…FAIL!
At last count there are hundreds of things – from a giant beer bottle to several pieces of giant candy – dropped from all sorts of heights all over the world. Some are raised, rather like a flag, in salute of the New Year. Some are dropped not at Midnight local time but at Midnight UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time, which is basically the same thing as GMT until you get down to the nanosecond. Of course, to all the revellers in Time Square and elsewhere in the world, it is vitally important that the kiss is kissed and the ball reaches its destination precisely at the exact nanosecond of the New Year.
So what gets dropped and where? Leaving out why, as the article would be too long, I will only cover the Northeast states. We are Albany Kid, after all.
- Bangor – The Bangor Ball. The Bangor Ball is a Christmas-light-covered beach ball, tossed from the top of a tall building into the crowd below, and then tossed about, concert style.
- Passamaquoddy Bay – 12′ Red Maple Leaf.
- Eastport – 8′ Sardine. Passamaquoddy Bay is part of Eastport, Maine. Although Eastport is in the Eastern Time Zone, the maple leaf is dropped at midnight Atlantic Time, for the Eastporter’s friends in Canada, across the border.
- Seaside Heights – Snooki (2011). Yes, that Snooki. Nicole Polizzi from Jersey Shore in a ball. Originally planned for Times Square alongside the more famous ball drop, the event was relocated after New York City officials kicked MTV, the organizers of the “Snooki Drop”, out of Times Square. No word on if this will ever be repeated.
- Buffalo – The Buffalo Ball Drop and, at one time, a Ford Edge automobile. This is rumoured to be the third-largest in the country, with 40,000 in attendance during a typical year.
- Hamburg – A ball.
- New York City (Times Square) – 11,875 pounds (5,386 kg) Waterford Crystal ball. Oh yeah, the granddaddy of them all!
- New York City – A giant lighted ukulele. Every year since New Year’s Eve 2004/05, the ukulele playing duo Sonic Uke has chosen a new place for this event. There are not yet any rumors about the 2012 location..
- New York City – Stick Stickly. Actually, no one quite knows where, or what, Stick Stickly is getting dropped into. It’s all part of a gimmick to get your kids to watch TeenNick‘s “The ’90s Are All That”. Fun.
- Niagara Falls – A 10′ Gibson Guitar from the Hard Rock Cafe. Also offered: a free outdoor concert with Everclear and Eve 6.
- North Tonawanda – A ball. Gateway Harbor offers New Years on the Canal.
- Syracuse – An orange ball for the Syracuse Orangemen, of course.
- White Plains – the White Plains Ball.
- Allentown – A replica of the Liberty Bell. Allentown is very proud of protecting the real Liberty Bell during the Revolutionary War.
- Akron – A giant, lighted, purple-and-gold shoe because Akron was once, apparently, a place that made shoes. The cool thing is the organizers use this as a way to collect shoes for charity. The festivities are referred to as Shoe-in 2013.
- Beavertown – A 6′ Styrofoam beaver. What else would Beavertown drop?
- Bethlehem – A 100-pound yellow fiberglass illuminated Peep, twice. Bethlehem is home of Marshmallow PEEPS Candies.
- Carlisle – An Indycar.
- Cornwall – A Civil War era cannonball dropped commemorating the historic Cornwall Iron Furnace.
- Dillsburg – Two pickles. Mrs. Pickle will drop at midnight UTC, or 7pm local time, for families of young children, and Mr Pickle will drop at midnight Eastern Time. Yes, they are both dill pickles.
- Duncannon – A sled.
- Easton – 10-ft. vivid tangerine Crayola Crayon. Easton is home to The Crayola Experience, which explains the crayon but not why it is tangerine.
- Elizabethtown – A giant M&M. Elizabethtown celebrates an Irish New Year’s Eve at 7pm, or midnight UTC, to correspond with midnight in sister city Letterkenny in Ireland.
- Falmouth – A stuffed goat.
- Harrisburg – A strawberry.
- Hellam – Replica of the Haines Shoe House.
- Hershey – A giant Hershey’s Kiss, raised.
- Hummelstown – A giant lollipop.
- Ickesburg – The famous French Fry Guy.
- Lebanon – A 100-pound stick of Lebanon Bologna.
- Lewistown – A large replica bag of Hartley’s potato chips.
- Lisburn – A pair of yellow “britches”. “Britches” meaning pants, and they do this in honor of the Yellow Breeches Creek. This is also known as Minnimingo Creek, but it’s too hard to drop a Minnimingo since no one knew what that was.
- Lititz – A Moravian star, raised. A tradition since 1756, this is a Watchnight service and consists of scripture reading and hymn singing more than drunken revelry.
- Liverpool – A canal boat.
- Manheim – Locally designed Orb, raised on the city’s flagpole.
- Mechanicsburg – A wrench.
- New Bloomfield – A box huckleberry.
- New Oxford – An antique trunk.
- Newport– A hard hat.
- Palmyra – A giant shoe.
- Pottsville – A giant fake bottle of Yuengling beer. The bottle is raised to the top of the town’s flagpole, because, according to city administrators, “You’re not supposed to drop a beer bottle.”
- Red Lion – A wooden cigar held by a lion, raised.
- Richland – A 10′ long, 13″ diameter cigar.
- Shippensburg – An anchor.
- York – A white African rose, raised.
- York Haven – A butterfly banner with the words “Transformation”.
If you are wondering where the rest of the Northeastern states are, well…some people like to watch things drop in the cold and some like to stay inside where it is warm and celebrate. There are numerous First Night celebrations around the Capital District, but as far as I could tell the only things dropped will be a few twenties on a bar and the only things raised will be our glasses as we ring in the New Year.
Happy 2012 Albany Kids!
This list is as complete and verified as I could make it. If you know for certain of something dropped or raised in any of the Northeastern states, please, list them in the comments below!