State tourism office promotes unique New Year’s Eve drops

By on December 21, 2016
Children gather around a large Peep after it was dropped during a New Year's Eve celebration, Dec. 31, 2011, at the Levitt Pavillion on the Steelstacks Campus in Bethlehem. (Photo by Matt Smith)

Boasting more unique New Year’s Eve drop celebrations than any other state, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office today reminds residents and visitors of the various options for ringing in the New Year all across the commonwealth.

“There’s no better place to pursue your happiness than in Pennsylvania — especially on New Year’s Eve,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, deputy secretary of the Office of Marketing, Tourism, and Film, Department of Community and Economic Development. “From the iconic Marshmallow Peep in Bethlehem to a pickle in Dillsburg, we encourage all happy travelers to celebrate December 31 in style at some of the best places to ring in 2017.”

A sampling of Pennsylvania’s unique drops includes:

  • Recycled Ball – Pittsburgh, Allegheny County. Join the city of Pittsburgh for First Night 2017 as it ushers in the New Year with a ball raise minutes before midnight, followed by a fireworks show. The “Future of Pittsburgh” ball is a 1,000-pound, illuminated orb made entirely of recycled materials, symbolizing Pittsburgh’s continuous efforts to be a “green” city. A kickoff celebration for the New Year’s festivities begins at 6 p.m., followed by the Highmark First Night Parade at 8 p.m., accompanied by ongoing comedic, musical, and theatrical performances throughout the evening.
  • Mushroom – Kennett Square, Chester County. Bring in the New Year at the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” Kennett Square. For the fourth time ever, a 700-pound stainless steel mushroom will be lowered to count down the New Year as a nod to the town’s acres of fungus fields. The Midnight in the Square event will feature music, food, and entertainment and will culminate with the mushroom drop at midnight.
  • Button – Carlisle, Cumberland County. Carlisle celebrates New Year’s Eve by encouraging visitors and residents to design a button that will be dropped at the annual First Night Carlisle event. The final result is a 50-pound, aluminum-framed button that is accented with LED lights. Over 140 children entered the 2016 Button Contest, and the winning theme was “No Place Like Home.” Beginning at 5 p.m., the First Night Carlisle celebration will include live music performances and art exhibits, and it will close with a fireworks display.
  • Wrench – Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County. The town of Mechanicsburg celebrates the New Year from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with the annual dropping of a wrench on Main Street. The tradition commemorates the borough’s founders — mechanics who settled in the area to make and repair wagons in the early 19th Century.
  • Strawberry – Harrisburg, Dauphin County. The New Year’s Eve celebration in Harrisburg hosts a crowd of thousands in the state’s capital. At 60 seconds before midnight, a giant, lit strawberry starts its descent from the top of the downtown Hilton Harrisburg to ring in the New Year. The evening includes live entertainment, dancing, children’s arts and crafts, and fireworks.
  • Hershey’s Kiss – Hershey, Dauphin County. Begin the New Year at the “Sweetest Place on Earth!” The Hershey’s Kiss Raise is ranked second by USA Today Travel for great places for a family-friendly New Year’s Eve. This well-known chocolate town pulls out all the stops for its New Year’s Eve in Hershey event. At 11:59 p.m., a Hershey’s Kiss is raised, and a midnight fireworks display completes a family-friendly night in downtown Hershey.
  • Red Rose – Lancaster, Lancaster County. Lancaster starts the New Year when its signature red rose ascends at Binns Park. Symbolic of the War of Roses between Lancaster and York, the red rose celebration starts early and lasts through the evening. With more than 20 indoor performances, Countdown Lancaster is a family-oriented event filled with visual and performing entertainment, ending in a midnight fireworks display.
  • Bologna – Lebanon, Lebanon County. It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve in central Pennsylvania without a famous Pennsylvania Dutch treat descending from the sky. Join the excitement in Lebanon as crowds count down the seconds with the famous 16-foot Lebanon Bologna coming to a stop at the stroke of midnight. Start off the year by being amazed, amused, and maybe even hungry.
  • Marshmallow Peep – Bethlehem, Northampton County. For a truly one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve celebration, First Night Bethlehem “peeps” with pride. Start the evening by experiencing the celebration spanning downtown and offering artistic and cultural entertainment for young and old, sponsored by the non-profit ArtsQuest. Enjoy a wide variety of music and art before watching the signature Marshmallow Peep travel down toward the crowd, ringing in the New Year as only Bethlehem can.
Children gather around a large Peep after it was dropped during a New Year's Eve celebration, Dec. 31, 2011, at the Levitt Pavillion on the Steelstacks Campus in Bethlehem. (Photo by Matt Smith)

Children gather around a large Peep after it was dropped during a New Year’s Eve celebration, Dec. 31, 2011, at the Levitt Pavillion on the Steelstacks Campus in Bethlehem. (Photo by Matt Smith)

  • Sled – Duncannon; Perry County. Duncannon Borough brings in the New Year with its annual Sled Drop at midnight, during a fireworks display. The 10-foot sled used is a model of the famous Lightning Guider sled manufactured at the Standard Sled Factory in Duncannon from 1904 until 1990. Festivities are held from 10 p.m. to midnight.
  • Yuengling Beer Bottle – Pottsville, Schuylkill County. New Year’s Eve in Pottsville is marked by the raising of the Yuengling beer bottle to the top of the flagpole at Garfield Square. Ring in the New Year with a toast to the oldest brewery in America.
Aaron Booterbaugh, of West End Hose No. 7 in Pottsville,places the giant Yuengling Lager bottle atop a flag pole at Garfield Square in Pottsville in December 2014. (Image from lehighvalleylive.com)

Aaron Booterbaugh, of West End Hose No. 7 in Pottsville,places the giant Yuengling Lager bottle atop a flag pole at Garfield Square in Pottsville in December 2014. (Image from lehighvalleylive.com)

  • Beaver – Beavertown, Snyder County. Watch Bucky the Beaver descend from the sky this New Year in Beavertown in the Susquehanna River Valley. This life-size beaver got his name from a community contest that was held before the event’s second year. He is held in the air by a 75-foot ladder and slowly lowered to the ground, landing at midnight.
  • Kettle – McClure, Snyder County. The fourth McClure Kettle Drop New Year’s Eve Celebration at the McClure Fire Hall is sure to be an entertaining community event for the whole family. Ring in the New Year with food, dancing, and activities for the kids, and watch the lowering of the cast-iron kettle at midnight in honor of the historic McClure Bean Soup Festival and Fair Celebration.
  • Pickle – Dillsburg, York County. Although Dillsburg has nothing to do with pickles, the town sure does know how to have fun with its name. Get into a real “pickle” as Dillsburg celebrates its annual Pickle Drop at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Once the dill has descended into the barrel, the party continues with a fireworks display lasting until 12:30 a.m.
  • White Rose – York, York County. Attendees of York’s New Year’s Eve celebration are sure to have a blast bringing in 2017. Enjoy a children’s countdown to the balloon drop from 6 to 8 p.m., with complimentary hats and noisemakers, perfect for the youngsters. Join the crowd in smelling roses all the way until midnight as a white rose descends from the sky in Continental Square, symbolic of the War of Roses between Lancaster and York.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Tourism Office and additional New Year’s Eve activities in Pennsylvania, visit visitPA.com.

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