Pennsylvania has a growing, goofy rep for doing New Year’s Eve right. The commonwealth is said to have more New Year’s drops – of various, often idiosyncratic, not to say nutty, objects and entities – than any other state. Here’s a sample of Pennsylvania’s Last Night/First Morning drops, and what is dropped:
Mushroom, Kennett Square. Surrounded by acres of fertile fungus fields, this town is the Mushroom Capital of the World, don’t forget. In this, the sixth time, a 700-pound stainless-steel mushroom will be lowered in a countdown to the new year. Information: midnightinthesquare.com
Coal, Shamokin and Wilkes-Barre. A lump of coal descends from the wintry night sky. Shamokin’s coal ball is labeled Happy New Year, and Wilkes-Barre’s cracks open into a diamond at the bottom, celebrating the area’s coal-mining past. Shamokin has been doing it since 1987; Wilkes-Barre followed suit, in homage, in 1995. Shamokin details on the “Holiday Happenings” page at visitcentralpa.org. Wilkes-Barre’s drop flies under the internet radar.
Car, Carlisle. As it did last year, on this 21st Last Night/First Morn the town will drop a car in honor of the many car shows held throughout Carlisle. It’s a vintage VW Beetle painted in black chalkboard paint. Attendees are invited to doodle on the Beetle throughout the evening, ahead of the raising and dropping. Information: firstnightcarlisle.org.
Strawberry, Harrisburg. At one minute to midnight, a giant, lighted strawberry starts descending from the top of the downtown Hilton Harrisburg. Why a strawberry? For Harrisburg’s downtown Strawberry Square shopping center. Information: visithersheyharrisburg.org.
Hershey’s Kiss, Hershey. This is a big, seriously sweet party sealed with a kiss. The Hershey’s Kiss Raise has been ranked second by USA Today Travel on its list of great places for a family-friendly New Year’s Eve. At 11:59 p.m., a 7-foot, 340-pound Hershey’s Kiss is raised in ChocolateTown Square (in the town, not Hershey Park), and a midnight fireworks display caps the night. Information: hersheynewyears.org.
Marshmallow Peep, Bethlehem. As the home of the famous marshmallow chicks, a 4-foot-9-inch-tall, 400-pound lighted Peep travels down toward the crowd, ringing in the new year as only Bethlehem can. Events are kid-oriented, and the Peep drops at 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 31. Information: steelstacks.org/peepsfest.
Wrench, Mechanicsburg. The 16th annual dropping of a wrench on Main Street commemorates the borough’s founders — mechanics who settled in the area to make and repair wagons in the early 19th century. Information: wrenchdrop.org.
Anchor, Shippensburg. The 16th annual Downtown Countdown features carriage rides, party favors, and entertainment, and at midnight, the big drop, to anchor us in 2019. club.shippensburgrotary.org/page/drop-the-anchor.
Pac-Man, Hanover. Yes, for the sixth annual event, a bigger, better replica of the hallowed video-game figure drops at Timeline Arcade with fireworks, food trucks, video games, music, and good feelings. Details on the Timeline Arcade Facebook page.
Breeches, Lower Allen Township/Mechanicsburg. “The breeches come down at midnight!” is the stirring rallying cry. At the Barn at Lower Allen Community Park, a pair of stout yellow britches is lowered in honor of the mysteriously named Yellow Breeches Creek. There’s a “Li’l Breeches” drop for the little ones at 10 p.m., plus games, music, dancing, and a canned-goods drive for charity. lowerallennewyearsdrop.wordpress.com.
Red Rose, Lancaster. Countdown Lancaster starts when the town’s signature red rose (a symbol of the English War of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York) ascends at Binns Park. Information: visitlancastercity.com/new-years-eve.
White Rose, York. There’s a kids' countdown to the balloon drop earlier in the evening, with complimentary hats and noisemakers. Smell the roses all the way to midnight, when a white rose (for the House of York) descends from the sky in Continental Square. Information on the York City Special Events Facebook page.
Bologna, Lebanon. Rock out in Lebanon as crowds count down the seconds for this 22nd annual event. The famed 16-foot Lebanon bologna comes to a stop at the stroke of midnight at the Ninth and Cumberland Streets parking lot. Information: lebanonpa.org.
Sled, Duncannon Borough. In this 19th annual event, a 10-foot sled, a model of the famed Lightning Guider sled, manufactured at the Standard Sled Factory in Duncannon from 1904 to 1990, drops at midnight as fireworks ka-boom. Information: visithersheyharrisburg.org.
Yuengling Beer Bottle, Pottsville. It’s raised to the top of the flagpole at Garfield Square. Ring in the new year with a toast to the oldest brewery in America. Information: www.city.pottsville.pa.us/
Pickle, Dillsburg. Named for first settler Matthew Dill, this town has nothing to do with pickles, but it is celebrating its 25th annual Pickle Drop on New Year’s Eve. At 7 p.m. (which is midnight in Ireland, you see), Mrs. Pickle drops. She is followed at midnight (Dillsburg time) by Mr. Pickle. Once Mr. P. is in the barrel, the party continues with fireworks. Information: dillsburg.com/events.html.
Recycled Ball, Pittsburgh. In one of the biggest Last Night parties in the state, at a few minutes before midnight, you have a “ball raise” — but not just any ball raise. “The Future of Pittsburgh” is a 1,000-pound lighted sphere made entirely of recycled materials, symbolizing Pittsburgh’s aspirations to be a green city. A fireworks display follows. Information: firstnightpgh.trustarts.org