Can't make it to the dropping of the ball in New York City's Times Square on New Year's Eve? Don't worry, there might be one closer to home and far more interesting to boot.
For some ideas on where to go, check out this list of the five most unique drops on New Year's Eve around the United States-there's not a ball in the bunch!
1 - Atlanta Peach Drop
Billed as the largest New Year's Eve celebration in the Southeast, the Atlanta Peach Drop is expected to draw 100,000 people this year. The first such drop was held in 1989 at Underground Atlanta, and the event has grown every year; now it's watched by millions on live television throughout the world.
The entire day of December 31 is full of events, including live performances; this year's featured performer is Julianne Hough, two-time Dancing with the Stars champion, leading up to the main event at midnight.
From the time the countdown begins, the 800-pound fiberglass and foam peach takes 58 seconds to slide down a 138-foot tower, which is covered in lights. Of course, the peach drop's star is painted and refurbished every year so as it's as pretty as a Georgia peach for its big night.
2 - Key West Red Shoe Drop
Perhaps the name sounds a bit tame, but what if I told you there was a person inside that 8-foot, high-heeled red shoe? Every year the Bourbon Street Pub in Key West, Florida drops bedazzled Sushi, a drag queen who performs nightly at the nearby 801 Bourbon Bar, from the second story balcony of the complex onto Duval Street.
Sushi sprays New Year's celebrators with champagne on the way down and then, once on the ground, pops open a special bottle of bubbly to celebrate the arrival of the new year.
If you happen to be in Key West and are looking for different drop options, though, you can also head to Sloppy Joe's Bar for the Conch Shell Drop or to the Schooner Wharf Bar for a dropping of a pirate wench.
Forget California; Key West knows how to party.
3 - Dillsburg Pickle Drop
With a name like Dillsburg, a pickle dropping into a pickle barrel for New Year's Eve makes perfect sense. But have you ever seen a top hat and a bowtie on a pickle? That may be reason enough to travel to this small town in south-central Pennsylvania.
The fun starts at 9 p.m. and runs until after midnight. Not surprisingly, the pickle theme runs throughout the event from the sale of pickle paraphernalia and large green balloons to food like pickle soup and deep-fried pickles. There is also a magic show at 10 p.m. No word on whether anyone will be pulling a pickle out of something as part of the act.
And then the main event begin just before midnight as 8-foot tall Mr. Pickle (yes, that's his official name) is dropped slowly into a pickle barrel, marking the start of a new year; the drop is followed by fireworks, but no flying pickles.
4 - Flagstaff Pine Cone Drop
Pine cone drop in Flagstaff, Arizona
The historic Hotel Weatherford is the site of the Pine Cone Drop in Flagstaff, Arizona. The first one was held in 1999 with a pine cone made from an aluminum garbage can.
Needless to say, the pine cone has been seriously upgraded since then; it's now five feet by seven feet and made of gold and silver aluminum. Each December 31 at midnight, the peculiar pine cone is dropped from the balcony of the hotel while thousands of people watch, waiting for its descent to signal the start of the new year.
Downtown Flagstaff closes down for the event and people mingle in the streets, enjoying a kind of community block party-always with an eye on the enormous shiny pine cone, of course.
5 - Port Clinton Walleye Drop
What's a new year's celebration without a giant fish dropping from the sky? That's one question the lucky residents of Port Clinton, Ohio, the Walleye Capital of the World, will never have to answer as every year, 20-foot, 600-pound fiberglass Wylie the Walleye makes his descent, the grand culmination of the day's festivities, which start at 3 p.m.
Just for the occasion, local restaurants feature specialties like Walleye Chowder, which is great for warming up the crowd on a night when temps often drop well below zero. Snack foods include Walleye Cinnamon Chips and Walleye Popcorn, and you can wash it all down with, what else? Walleye White wine.
Other Unique New Year's Eve Drops
Don't think for one second that these are the only interesting New Year's Eve drops out there. There is probably one in your own state somewhere, and here's a start on where to look with the following honorable mentions for the most unique New Year's Eve drops:
- Easton, Maryland Crab Drop
- Plymouth, Wisconsin Big Cheese Drop
- Elmore, Ohio Big Sausage Drop
- Fayetteville, Arkansas Hog Drop
- And my personal favorite because it's minutes from my hometown and I've actually seen it in person, the Shamokin, Pennsylvania Coal Drop.
Happy New Year whatever you choose to watch drop!
photo credits: Dillsburg by Mark Ryder - AP Photos, Flagstaff by Dawn M. Armfield at Flickr