The most famous New Year's Eve celebration of all may be the dropping of the ball at Times Square in New York City. But if you don't much care for being crammed next to thousands of people for twelve hours or so, there are a lot more things being dropped around the country on New Year's Eve than you may realize.
And some of them are within traveling distance from New Jersey.
One of the oldest ideas for a dropping originated in North Carolina. The Mt. Olive Pickle Company will hold their 8th annual New Year's Eve Pickle Drop Sunday, December 31 at the stroke of 7 o'clock midnight*. (For those wondering what * means, 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time is actually midnight Greenwich Mean Time.
According to newyearsdrop.com, the Pickle Drop is based on a boast made by World War II bombardiers that they were so accurate, they could drop a bomb into a pickle barrel. And in the 1950s Pickle Packers International invited them to test this skill by dropping pickles off a skyscraper into barrels on the sidewalk below. This idea remained in the minds of Mt Olive Pickle employees, and in 1999, the first Pickle Drop was held in front of 8 people. By 2001 the event was opened to the public.
Closer to our area is Bethlehem's dropping of a peep, a product made by the Just Born Company.
Named for founder Sam Born, a Russian immigrant, the 87-year-old company manufactures all the peeps except one — the 85-pound fiberglass Peeps chick that will drop on New Year's Eve — with a fireworks display.
Mark Demko, spokesman for ArtsQuest, co-organizers of the event says the peep is 4 1/2 feet tall, 5 feet wide and 6 feet long.
Pittsburghlive.com reports that to accommodate families, there will be an earlier peeps drop at 5:45 that evening. The drop will conclude the three-day Peeps Fest, which includes the Peeps Olympics for kids, a Peeps diorama competition with student and corporate divisions, plus ice carving and glass-blowing demonstrations.
Elsewhere, folks in Easton, Md. will watch a big, fake crab slide down a pair of poles in the middle of their 300-year-old Chesapeake Bay town.
"Kids pet it and get their pictures taken with it," says Marie U'Ren, chief organizer of First Night Talbot — for Talbot County — which features two crab drops.
The first — at 9 p.m. — suits families with young children, while reminding people that 9 p.m. equals midnight in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which suits Easton's "mid-Atlantic" location.
The oversized, red crustacean actually represents a cooked, blue crab — a culinary staple in Easton.
Richard and Suzanne Hood of Royal Oak, Md., suggested the crab drop — and created the steel-reinforced, papier-mache crab — after witnessing a New Year's Eve onion drop in Bermuda.
Meanwhile, the city of Lebanon is already full of bologna — and on New Year's Eve, residents will drop a 12-foot-long, 150-pound real bologna to ring in the new year. Lebanon is known for its bologna, which is similar to slow-cured European sausages and comes from the Pennsylvania Dutch.
The event takes place from 10:30 a.m. - midnight, according to citysbest.com. The parking lot is at 9th and Cumberland streets, Lebanon, which is about two hours from Philadelphia.
But don't think New Jersey has been left out of New Year's Eve celebrations. A noteworthy one took place in 2000 at Point Pleasant, a one time affair celebrating the millennium. Not all millennium celebrations have to be solemn affairs burdened by the weight of history.
The Associated Press reported that the fishing community of Point Pleasant adopted Mo The Millennium Mossbunker, a 10-foot wooden replica of an Atlantic bait fish, covered with 1,500 Mylar scales, as the centerpiece of its New Year's Eve celebration.
Mo was lowered down a 40-foot scaffold outside a bowling alley, after being taken a mile out to sea aboard a fishing boat, returned to land and paraded through the streets.
Anyway, I've never been really sure why people get the desire to celebrate entering into a new year by gathering together to watch something drop, aside from their relatives. Chances are the reason is alcohol related.
Wherever you happen to drop in on New Year's Eve, please remember to stay safe. Happy New Year!