The glistening ball dropping over Times Square is a familiar sight, but a giant pine cone..?
That's the iconic New Year's Eve image in Flagstaff, Arizona. While many travellers fly to New York for the New Year's festivities, every year a 6-foot metallic illuminated pinecone is lowered from the landmark Weatherford Hotel in Flagstaff to ring in the new. Actually, they ring it in twice – once at 10pm for children and others with curfews, then again for the real countdown at midnight.
In a country where nothing says “Happy New Year” like a giant object falling from the sky, all over America different towns have their own unique and often bizarre 'drops' on December 31st. In downtown Atlanta, after a day of family fun and live entertainment, the transition from one year to the next is marked by a giant peach descending a tower of lights.
The 800lb fibreglass peach seems logical in the capital city of the so-called 'Peach State', and while most places drop something representative of a regional claim to fame, the reasoning isn't always so obvious.
In Eastport, Maine they have 2 separate drops. One is of an 8-foot wooden sardine, in a nod to the local canning industry. It's tradition for the crowd waiting below to kiss the fake fish once it's lowered to bring them good luck in the year ahead (perhaps because anything seems like good fortune after kissing a sardine?). The second drop is of an oversized maple leaf, in a shout-out to their Canadian neighbours.
Other lesser known midnight drops include a big cheese in Wisconsin, drag queens in the Florida Keys, an electronic pie in Alabama, and in Indiana it rains real watermelons...