These U.S. Cities drop a whole host of other unconventional objects on to ring in a New Year.
On December 31, billions of revelers across the globe gather at celebratory events to usher in the start of a New Year. When many people think of legendary “New Year’s Eve” festivities, The Times Square Ball Drop in New York City immediately comes to mind. But, as it turns out, dozens of other cities across the U.S. drop a range of unique objects significant to their own culture and history. Here are 12 of the most out-of-the-box “New Year’s Eve” drops across America—from potatoes to beach balls to giant chile peppers and even a massive chunk of cheese.
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California Grape Cluster Drop
WHERE: Temecula Valley, California
The atmosphere in Old Town Temecula on New Year’s Eve is an especially “spirited” experience with the annual Temecula Valley Grape Drop celebration. The 150-pound locally made fiberglass grape cluster descends from the clock tower at Temecula’s City Hall at midnight Pacific time and is adorned with 7,000 lights standing 9 feet wide by 13.5 feet tall. The event first began in 2009 when the city decided to ring in the New Year in a way symbolic of Temecula Valley’s culture since this region is considered southern California’s wine country. In addition to the grape cluster drop, friends and families can enjoy a range of festivities on New Year’s Eve, exploring Old Town and shopping at the holiday vendors or visiting the outdoor ice skating rink while listening to live music all night long.
Tennessee Music Note Drop
WHERE: Nashville, Tennessee
Since Nashville is known as “Music City,” it’s only fitting that the city drops a music note come New Year’s. This year, the 16-foot tall, 400-pound red Music Note will descend from a 138-foot tall tower at midnight Central time to signal the ringing (or perhaps—singing?) in of the New Year. This artifact is made of aluminum and acrylic and contains more than 28,000 LED pixels to light up the night.
Michigan CherryT Ball Drop
WHERE: Traverse City, Michigan
In Traverse City, Michigan, the annual CherryT Ball Drop pays homage to the city’s title as “Cherry Capital” and makes for an exceptionally sweet experience. On the evening of every New Year’s Eve, locals and visitors alike gather together on Front Street to witness a giant glowing cherry descending onto the city, followed by a firework show to signify new beginnings. The event begins at 10 p.m. and concludes shortly after midnight following the festivities.
Idaho Potato Drop
WHERE: Boise, Idaho
Idaho pays homage to its history and culture by ringing in the new year with none other than the Idaho Potato Drop. This truly unique celebration is filled with wholesome entertainment and festivities that are not to be missed in downtown Boise. This year, the event turns ten, marking a decade of potato-dropping and family-friendly fun. This event is free, open to the public, and offers a range of live music shows, a snow park where athletes showcase their snow sports skills, tasty food trucks, a beer garden, and more. At midnight, the main event begins when a giant glowing potato is dropped from a crane at the park in front of the Idaho State Capitol building, followed by a fireworks display.
Florida’s Beach Ball Drop
WHERE: Panama City Beach, Florida
Florida is no stranger to legendary NYE drops. After all, Sushi the Drag Queen’s annual descent in a stylish shoe at Bourbon St. Pub is one of the most legendary sights to usher in a year of new beginnings in Key West. But over in Panama City Beach, the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop is one of the most exciting annual events on the Gulf Coast. Tens of thousands of visitors make the trek to Panama City Beach to encounter not just one but two countdowns, a firework show, concerts, and tens of thousands of inflatable beach balls bouncing around and raining down from the sky over the streets of Pier Park. Spectators can enjoy live music during the buildup to the countdown—and at midnight, an impressive fireworks display accompanies the “dropping” of this large, LED-lit beach ball which symbolizes beginnings and a fresh start in the new year.
WHERE: Mobile, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama’s mantra is “Born to Celebrate,” year-round—which makes the holiday season an exceptionally eventful time of year to visit and enjoy spending time in town. At midnight in Mobile, visitors and locals can witness a 600-pound electric MoonPie dropping from the sky, complete with fireworks and a laser light show. Mobile takes the title of being home to America’s original Mardi Gras when back in the mid-1900s, locals started tossing wrapped MoonPies from their Mardi Gras floats. Today, an estimated half-million Moon Pies are still tossed during the average Carnival season. So, the city’s citizens decided to add this fun to New Year’s Night and created the world’s largest electric MoonPie to drop to celebrate a new year while paying tribute to this historic induction.
New Orleans Fleur-de-lis Drop
WHERE: New Orleans, Louisiana
The French Quarter is traditionally jam-packed with party-goers, regardless of the time or date, but New Orleans goes all out on New Year’s Eve. Witness the dropping of a Fleur-de-lis drop which pays homage to this historic city’s deeply rooted French heritage, along with a spectacular fireworks show and a range of fun walking tours that are, of course, both party-centric as well as historic.
WHERE: Raleigh, North Carolina
As North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh is nicknamed the City of Oaks, it’s no surprise they drop a 10-foot-tall, 1,250-pound copper and steel acorn followed by a firework show at the annual “First Night Raleigh celebration.” For more than three decades, the First Night Raleigh festival has offered festival-goers the ultimate way to ring in the New Year, hosting a range of performances and interactive exhibits across multiple venues in downtown Raleigh. This giant metal acorn was crafted out of copper by David Benson in 1992 to celebrate Raleigh’s bicentennial and is traditionally perched year-round on the lawn of the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts. But each year, on this special evening, it’s shined up and brought out to commemorate a countdown to the New Year.
WHERE: Lewes, Delaware
In Lewes, Delaware, the annual, free family–friendly “New Year’s Eve Anchor Drop” is held in a great location near the scenic waterways of this popular resort town, at the Delaware beaches. The anchor drop is hosted at a historic vessel called the Lightship Overfalls in Canalfront Park and features a midnight lowering of the decorated ship’s anchor adorned with sparkly, seasonal lights. This event pays homage to the city’s history as a seaport—in fact, the Lightship itself is a retired “floating lighthouse,” which is now a museum. The event gives locals and visitors a chance to mingle and enjoy festive holiday music, steaming hot chocolate, and cozy fire pits before ringing in the New Year.
WHERE: Plymouth, Wisconsin
Bust out the noisemakers and the cheese hats—when it comes to wrapping up the year in a delicious way, The Cheese Capital of the World, Plymouth, Wisconsin, does not disappoint. The town’s annual “cheese drop” is a quirky tradition that begins at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve with a countdown, lowering a giant slice of Sartori’s award-winning BellaVitano Gold Cheese toward the ground. And this year, in addition to the cheese tasting table, complimentary hot cocoa, and cash bar, free cheese will be distributed to the crowd, as gift bags of Sartori Cheese are given to the first 250 families in attendance! The actual Big Cheese Drop will be held at this family-friendly event at 10 p.m., but after the drop, music and dancing will continue through midnight, including a complimentary champagne toast.
WHERE: Las Cruces, New Mexico
The Las Cruces Chile Drop is an annual event presented by the City of Las Cruces and the Downtown Las Cruces Partnership dating back to 2014 to inaugurate the newly developed Plaza de Las Cruces. Since then, visitors and locals can look forward to attending a yearly block party on New Year’s Eve, complete with live music and a dedicated Kids Zone with kid-friendly entertainment. At midnight, the 19-foot chrome chile adorned with 400 feet of LED lighting descends from a crane, signifying the start of a new year. It actually used to be a surprise to see whether the chile would be red or green each year, but as of 2021, attendees get to vote on the official state question and choose the color by scanning a QR code, creating a personal connection to their community and the event.
WHERE: Atlanta, Georgia
After a three-year hiatus, the annual “Peach Drop’ returns to Underground Atlanta in 2022 to ring in the new year at a high-energy, entertainment-filled New Year’s Eve happening. This event typically attracts tens of thousands of spectators to gather in downtown Atlanta and signifies the start of a new year using none other than Georgia’s state fruit.