Don’t live anywhere near New York City, but still desperate to see something - anything - drop during a countdown to 2012 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.
Image credit: Matt Smith/Express-Times /Landov
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 three-foot tall, thirty-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 just started last year, 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 live possum in a cage in Brasstown, North Carolina, the possum capital of the world. Though the little guy is fed and released post-drop, PETA has petitioned the town to stop torturing the critter.
13. A peach in Atlanta, Georgia. Go figure, right?
14. 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:
15. An apple in Manhattan, Kansas. Paying homage to their “Little Apple” nickname, Manhattan drops a brightly-lit Red Delicious.
16. A big chunk of cheese in Plymouth, Wisconsin. Sadly, it’s not real dairy, but merely an 80-pound brick of styrofoam sprayed yellow.
17. 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.
18. Two hundred pounds of bologna in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, the home of Lebanon bologna.
19. Coal in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. As you might suspect, Shamokin is a coal mining town proud of its heritage.
What Goes Up...
What goes up, stays up... at least when it comes to these objects that are raised instead of dropped.
20. The elevator at the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington.
21. An orange wearing sunglasses in Miami, Florida.
22. A watermelon ball in Vincennes, Indiana. When it gets to the top, the ball opens to release 12 real watermelons, making a mess in the splash zone below that would make Gallagher proud.
23. A giant Hershey’s Kiss in Hershey, Pennsylvania (of course).