All of the weird things Pennsylvania drops on New Year's Eve
How these Pa. towns celebrate New Year's Eve.
Pennsylvania has a rep for doing New Year's Eve right. The commonwealth is said to have more New Year's drops — of various objects and entities — than any other state. Here's a sample of Pennsylvania's Last Night/First Morning drops, and what is dropped:
Recycled Ball, Pittsburgh. 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: www.firstnightpgh.org.
Mushroom, Kennett Square. This town, surrounded by acres of fertile fungus fields, is the Mushroom Capital of the World, don't forget. In this, the fifth time, a 700-pound stainless-steel mushroom will be lowered in a countdown to the new year. Information: www.midnightinthesquare.com.
Car, Carlisle. In previous years, this town has had a button contest in which visitors and residents can design a button to be dropped on New Year's Eve, resulting in a 50-pound, lighted, aluminum-framed button. But this year, the town will return to a previous tradition for its 20th First Night and drop a car in honor of the many car shows held throughout Carlisle. Information: www.firstnightcarlisle.org.
Wrench, Mechanicsburg. The 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.
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 the state capital's downtown Strawberry Square shopping center. Information: www.visithersheyharrisburg.com.
Hershey's Kiss, Hershey. The Hershey's Kiss Raise is ranked second by USA Today Travel of great places for a family-friendly New Year's Eve. At 11:59 p.m., a Hershey's Kiss is raised, and a midnight fireworks display caps the night. Information: www.hersheynewyears.org.
Pierogi and Kielbasa, Shenandoah. A relatively new addition: For the second time, the residents of Shenandoah will watch pierogi and kielbasa drop from a crane come 7 p.m. (so the little ones can enjoy it, too). Information: www.skooknews.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: www.figlancaster.com.
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: www.yorkcity.org/NYE.
Bologna, Lebanon. Rock out in Lebanon as crowds count down the seconds with the famous 16-foot Lebanon bologna coming to a stop at the stroke of midnight at the Ninth and Cumberland Streets parking lot. Information: www.lebanonpa.org.
Marshmallow Peep, Bethlehem. As the home of the famous marshmallow chicks, a 4-foot, 9-inch-tall, 200-pound lighted Peep travels down toward the crowd, ringing in the new year as only Bethlehem can. Events are kids-geared and the Peep drops at 5:15 p.m. Information: www.steelstacks.org/peepsfest.
Sled, Duncannon Borough. The 10-foot sled, a model of the famous Lightning Guider sled manufactured at the Standard Sled Factory in Duncannon from 1904 to 1990, drops at midnight as fireworks ka-boom. Information: www.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.
Beaver, Beavertown. Bucky the Beaver descends from the sky. He's held in the air by a 75-foot ladder and slowly lowered to the ground, landing at midnight. Information: www.visitcentralpa.org.
Kettle, McClure. At the fourth McClure Kettle Drop New Year's Eve Celebration at the McClure Fire Hall, there's the lowering of the cast-iron kettle at midnight in honor of the McClure Bean Soup Festival and Fair Celebration. Information: www.sites.google.com/site/kettledrop/home.
Pickle, Dillsburg. This town has nothing to do with pickles, but it does celebrate its annual pickle drop at midnight on New Year's Eve. Once the dill has descended into the barrel, the party continues with fireworks. Information: www.dillsburg.com/events.html.