Soggy Shoe Drop rings in Akron’s new year

By on January 2, 2019

Umbrellas and raincoats were a big part of the 2018 New Year’s Eve Shoe Drop celebration at Akron’s Broad Street park. Rain throughout the day and into the early evening hours undoubtedly convinced many people to stay home to note the arrival of 2019, but there was no lack of celebrants for the Akron tradition.

Akron Borough Councilman Darryl Witmer (left) cranked the giant shoe down and Mike Zimmerman lent a hand to make sure the 2019 sign lit up at the stroke of midnight, despite the rain.

In 2017, with the thermometer close to zero, Mayor John McBeth and the Shoe Drop committee canceled the event. Contacted early Monday morning about the 2018 event, when rain was pelting the town, McBeth said 2019 was going to get the full Shoe Drop welcome, rain or no rain.

People were coming and going throughout the evening, McBeth said Monday night as the new countdown clock ticked an end to 2018. Rainfall gradually lessened, and by about 20 minutes before midnight it had stopped entirely.

Akron Borough Councilman Darryl Witmer (left) cranked the giant shoe down and Mike Zimmerman lent a hand to make sure the 2019 sign lit up at the stroke of midnight, despite the rain.

The annual event is a total community effort, with major sponsorship courtesy of Good’s Disposal and the Ephrata National Bank. Akron Volunteer Fire Company members were on hand to tend a roaring bonfire. Volunteers from Freedom Path Church served free hot dogs, sauerkraut, cookies and hot chocolate to the crowd, and DJ Joe Dunn kept the them entertained with tunes, some old and some new.

Volunteers from Akron’s Freedom Path Church served up free hot dogs, kraut, cookies and hot chocolate to New Year’s Eve revelers during Akron’s annual Shoe Drop to ring in the new year.

Borough Councilman Darryl Witmer was in charge of cranking Lancaster County’s most famous shoe down from the top of its designated pole, and Mike Zimmerman stood by to plug in the lighted sign at exactly midnight to proclaim the arrival of 2019.

Dick Wanner is a staff reporter and photographer for The Ephrata Review. He can be contacted at rwanner.eph@lnpnews.com. 

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