A million people are expected to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square to watch the famous ball, crafted out of Waterford Crystal, slowly descend to welcome in 2017. Millions more from around the world will watch the event unfold on their televisions. But New York City isn’t the only place to be that evening. Many cities and small towns in Pennsylvania also have New Year’s Eve celebrations where things are dropped. Weird things. Pennsylvania has taken the art of dropping things, or in some cases, raising things, to a whole new level as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.
Lancaster, which is known as the Red Rose City drops a red rose while York, which is just across the Susquehanna River and is known as the White Rose City, drops a white rose. Both cities have taken their nicknames from the houses of Lancaster (associated with a red rose) and York (associated with a white rose) in England. War of the Roses, indeed.
Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania state capital, drops a strawberry from the Harrisburg Hilton, located at Strawberry Square. Hence the Strawberry. There really isn’t any other reason for a strawberry.
Hershey, the “Sweetest Place on Earth”, raises – surprise! – a large Hershey Kiss. mmmm…chocolate.
Bethlehem, home of the Just Born candy company, maker of the ever-popular marshmallow peeps, drops a large peep.
Pottsville, home of America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling (I could use a lager now!), raises a beer bottle. Here’s to you Pottsville!
Kennett Square, located in Chester County, outside of Philadelphia drops a large mushroom in homage to the numerous mushroom houses in the area. This little area of the state produces nearly half of the mushrooms consumed in the United States!
Dillsburg, which is not far from Gettysburg, and has absolutely nothing to do with pickles other than it’s name…drops a large pickle. You can also buy deep-fried pickles at the event.
Mechanicsburg, located not far from Harrisburg, drops a wrench to honor the founders of the town who were mechanics.
Duncannon drops a sled. Not just any sled, but a replica of the Lightning Guider sled that used to be made at the Standard Novelty Works factory in Duncannon which is now an antiques mall. I’m the proud owner of one of those sleds and I cherish it.
Red Lion raises a cigar, held by a lion. Why? Because believe it or not little Red Lion used be the cigar making capital of the world.
Elizabethtown, not to be out-done by Hershey or Bethlehem when it comes to candy, drops a large M&M, which are made there at the M&M Mars Candy Factory. But they drop it at 7:00 P.M. which is midnight in their sister city, Letterkenny, Ireland. Does that make sense? No. But we do love our candy and snacks here in PA. The more M&Ms, Peeps and Hershey Kisses the better!
New Bloomfield drops a huckleberry in honor of Pennsylvania’s oldest citizen, the box huckleberry, believed to be more than 1,300 years old that grows near-by. It’s an amazing seedless plant that spreads via rhizome. So the huckleberry covering the nearby mountain ridge that seems to be numerous plants…is in fact, one huckleberry bush. Amazing stuff!
Shippensburg, lovingly called Ship by the locals, drops an anchor. Anchor’s aweigh!
Pittsburgh raises a ball made of recycled materials designed to resemble the Earth, which symbolizes Pittsburgh’s efforts to be a “green city”.
Lastly, Lebanon, my hometown and home of the famous Lebanon Bologna, drops…a bologna! Well, they used to drop a bologna – a 200 pound bologna. But this year they are dropping twenty approximately 10 pound bolognas instead of one large bologna. Why? Because of all of the things dropped on New Year’s Eve all over Pennsylvania, Lebanon is one of – if not the only – city to drop a real thing. The bologna that is dropped is not made of metal, wood and shiny lights. Its real food, donated by a local bologna maker and after the celebration, it is cut up and given to food pantries and shelters to help feed the hungry. This year, Lebanon is dropping 20 smaller versions to make that distribution easier and more sanitary.
So if you still haven’t made any plans to ring in the New Year, why not visit one of these Pennsylvania cities or towns and try something new? As for me? I’ll be in New Jersey watching the Captain and Coke fall down my throat. Happy New Year!
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