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18 of the Craziest New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Events in the US

Lauren Mack

New York, NY, USA

Three, two, one…happy new year! Cities around the globe are ushering in the new year with coordinated countdowns and wacky, wild ball drops. Arguably, the most epic New Year’s Eve event is the ball drop in Times Square in New York, but smaller spots host equally exciting countdowns that include dropping quirky objects, like a giant head of lettuce in Yuma, Arizona…or a ruby slipper carrying a drag queen in Key West, Florida.

The notion of ringing in the new year with a ball drop isn’t new. The ritual of dropping a time-ball dates to the 19th century when the Royal Observatory at Greenwich installed a time-ball in 1833 that would drop at 1p.m. daily so ship captains could set their chronometers. The Greenwich Time Ball remains active today, as does the time-ball in Times Square. But have you heard about the rest? Get ready to countdown to the new year with the most creative, weird, and wacky New Year’s Eve Ball Drops in the US.

Get a Peep at the New Year in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Credit: PEEPSFEST

The hometown of marshmallow chick confectioner Just Born hosts a family-friendly PEEPSFEST to celebrate the neon-colored treats and the new year. The two-day New Year’s Eve event includes music, entertainment, a scavenger hunt, the Leaning Tower of PEEPS, and the dropping of a 400-pound PEEPS chick. The four-foot, nine-inch chick drops in the afternoon and is followed by fireworks. 

Start the New Year on a Good Note in Nashville, Tennessee

Credit: Music City Nashville

One of the most famous New Year’s Eve events in the U.S. is in music city. New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash is a free, nationally televised event featuring concerts with dozens of artists across town. The Nashville bash culminates with the dropping of a giant music note at midnight.

Have a Cheesy New Year in Plymouth, Wisconsin

Credit: Plymouth Arts Center

The cheese capital of the world hosts the annual Sartori Big Cheese Drop, which includes a countdown and lowering of a giant wedge of Sartori’s BellaVitano Gold Cheese in Plymouth, Wisconsin. The revelry is part of a big party at Plymouth Arts Center sponsored by Sartori Cheese that also includes music, a bonfire, and a cheese tasting table.

Countdown to the New Year with an Iceberg Drop in Yuma, Arizona

Credit: Visit Yuma

During a downtown block party in Yuma, Arizona, party-goers get to celebrate the new year with a double drop of iceberg lettuce. The annual Yuma Iceberg Drop is a nod to the area’s agriculture. A massive eight-foot illuminated head of lettuce is dropped at 10p.m. to coincide with the east coast’s New Year’s Eve celebration and then again at midnight.

Drop It Like It’s Hot With a Potato in Boise, Idaho 

Credit: Idaho Potato Drop

Idahoans drop it like it’s hot at the annual Idaho Potato Drop in Boise, Idaho. The evening includes entertainment, a ski and snowboard exhibition, photos with Spuddy Buddy, and the Idaho Potato Rise, a flight of the #GlowTato to its staging area. At the stroke of midnight, the giant illuminated potato descends as a crowd of spec-taters celebrate the new year.

Have a Grape New Year in Temecula, California

Credit: Visit Temecula Valley

The countdown to the new year takes place at the Old Town Civic Center in Temecula, California. The festivities in the wine growing region include ice skating, carnival games, and a countdown. Attendees of Temecula’s New Year’s Eve Grape Drop will see a giant 150-pound bunch of purple grapes with more than 7,000 lights is dropped at 9p.m. in sync with the east coast’s celebration and again at midnight. 

Sendoff the Previous Year with the Big Orange in Miami, Florida

Credit: Youtube/CBS Miami

The Hotel InterContinental Miami is the site of great revelry as a 2,000-pound orange, created by industrial artist Steve Carpenter, is dropped to usher in the new year. Set atop the 653-room hotel that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay, and Port of Miami, the 35-foot “Big Orange” adorned with 2,000 LED lights descends as the crowd squeezes out the last seconds of the year.

Prep for an epic New Year’s Eve Ball Drop with a gigantic Pineapple in Sarasota, Florida

Credit: Normal Schimmel

For more than two decades, revelers have rung in the new year by watching an illuminated pineapple drop in Florida. The Sarasota New Year’s Eve Pineapple drop is part of a block party that serves as the largest New Year’s celebration in Southwest Florida. Dangling from a crane, the pineapple is dropped at midnight as fireworks erupt over the skies of Sarasota Bay.

Celebrate the New Year with a Conch Shell in Key West, Florida

Credit Sloppy Joe’s Bar

Opened the day Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Sloppy Joe’s Bar is an institution in Key West. Ernest Hemingway used to spend hours at the curved bar sipping drinks. Sloppy Joe’s Bar starts its New Year’s Eve event and celebration with live music indoors and on its rooftop. At the stroke of midnight, a giant six-foot conch shell is dropped 20 feet from the rooftop.

Ring in the New Year with a Ruby Red Slipper Drop in Key West, Florida

Credit: Rob O’Neil

This Duval Street bar, which offers nightly drag queen shows, bingo, and karaoke, has a lively New Year’s Eve party that culminates with a countdown to the new year. The gay bar 801 Bourbon Bar countdown concludes with drag queen Gary “Sushi” Marion seated on a red ruby slipper that descends to Duval Street.

Have a Peachy New Year in Atlanta, Georgia

Credit: Paras Griffin

New Year’s Eve festivities kick off with a concert at Underground in Atlanta, Georgia. The historic four-block area populated with shops, restaurants, and hotels is where the city’s New Year’s celebration takes place. It culminates with fireworks and an 800-pound peach drop as the crowd is showered with confetti.

Enjoy Double the New Year’s Drops in Eastport, Maine

Credit: Tides Institute & Museum

Celebrate the new year twice in Downtown Eastport, Maine. The community celebration is centered around the Tides Institute & Museum of Art where an illuminated red maple leaf is lowered from the building’s third story at 11p.m. to usher in the new year in Canada across the bay, which is in a different timezone. An hour later, an eight-foot sardine is lowered to greet the new year in Maine. If you dig time travel, we also recommend ringing in the new year twice in one night by celebrating New Year’s Eve in Pago Pago and Tonga.

Have a Wild (Blueberry) Time in Kennebunk, Maine

Credit: New Years Eve Kennebunk

Folks in Kennebunk, Maine, spend the last day of the year ice skating at the Waterhouse Center and counting down the new year – twice – as a wild Maine blueberry is dropped from the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church steeple at 9p.m. and midnight. The blueberry, dropped during the New Year’s Eve event, is a refurbished lawn ornament adorned with 1,000 lights.

Countdown with a Crab Drop in Easton, Maryland

Credit: Ted Mueller Photography

The town of Easton, Maryland celebrates the new year with First Night Talbot, an alcohol-free event that celebrates the local arts scene. The evening begins with concerts, followed by a parade featuring children and puppets, and finally the New Year’s Eve ball drop in the form of a giant red crab to ring in midnight in the mid-Atlantic.

Have a Sweet Celebration with the Cherry Drop in Traverse City, Michigan

Credit: CherryT Ball Drop Traverse City

It’s not surprising that the cherry capital of the world drops a giant illuminated cherry on New Year’s Eve during the CherryT Ball drop in Traverse City, Michigan. The festivities on Front Street include a deejay, fireworks, and cherry drop. The annual event benefits local charities, hence, the event’s name CherryT, a play on words to describe the city’s cherry industry and the charitable event. 

Meet the New Year with a MoonPie over Mobile, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama, US. Credit: MoonPie Over Mobile

Mobile, Alabama rings in the new year in a super sweet way: with a giant 600-pound electric MoonPie drop at midnight. The Gulf Coast MoonPie Over Mobile celebration includes entertainment, fireworks, a Mardi Gras-style parade, the chance to eat the world’s largest MoonPie cake, and a midnight MoonPie drop.

Have a Hot New Year’s with a giant Chile in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Credit: Las Cruces Chile Drop

Crowds descend on Civic Plaza in Las Cruces, New Mexico to see a giant LED-lit chili pepper illuminate the downtown during the Chile Drop Las Cruces. The free event includes live entertainment, a beer garden, midway games, and food, but the main attraction is the 19-foot-long chrome chile, which is a nod to New Mexico’s famous chiles. Each year, it’s a surprise to see if the chile pepper is lit in red or green.

Have a Happy New Year at the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in New York, New York

Credit: Simon Dux Media / Shutterstock.com

Since 1904, folks have gathered in the heart of Times Square to ring in the new year. The iconic 12-foot, 11,875-pound Waterford crystal ball drops at the stroke of midnight during Times Square New Year’s Eve. This famous New Year’s Eve event includes a six-and-a-half hour concert broadcast nationwide. Just before midnight, the crystal ball, composed of 2,688 crystal triangles, begins its 60-second descent down the flagpole at the top of One Times Square and one ton of confetti rains down on revelers at the stroke of midnight.