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New Year’s Eve Drops Across Pennsylvania
If for most Americans watching the crystal ball drop in Times Square is the standard way to ring in the New Year, for Pennsylvanians their unique New Year’s “drops” have a mythos (and gravity-compelled object) unique to each community. While certain cities across the United States mark the beginning of the New Year by raising or dropping an object that has significance for their locality, Pennsylvania surpasses all other states in having the greatest number of these ceremonial New Year’s proceedings, with over 48 cities and boroughs participating. From stuffed beavers to dill pickles—you might even say that these New Year’s Eve “drops” are as diverse and memorable as what the state and its varied regions have to offer.
As an allusion to the English War of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York, Lancaster drops a red rose and York a white rose to usher in the New Year. Dillsburg drops two pickles—"Mrs. Pickle” descends at 7 p.m. (which is midnight in Ireland, as a nod to its Irish founders), and “Mr. Pickle” follows at midnight. A wrench is dropped in Mechanicsburg, while in Hershey, a Hershey Kiss replica is raised. In Harrisburg, a strawberry is dropped in honor of Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg. Hanover drops a three-foot Pacman, a tradition initiated by the owner of Hanover’s Timeline Arcade in reference to the most successful coin-operated arcade game in history. In Hummelstown, a lollipop is dropped. In the past, Lebanon has dropped a 200-pound Lebanon bologna, but this year, a six-foot, papier-mâché replica of The Bologna Ranger will be lowered along with a smaller, traditional bologna. In Lititz, a Moravian star is raised. In Manheim, a ball is raised. In Palmyra, “The Giant Shoe”—a replica of the one produced at local Kreider's shoe factory—is dropped. In Bethlehem, the home of the company that makes marshmallow Peeps, a 400-pound yellow fiberglass Peep is dropped. In Allentown, its cast imitation of the Liberty Bell is dropped to commemorate when it was stored there during the American Revolution. Whether simply eccentric or historically accurate, Pennsylvanians certainly don’t drop the ball in representing their local flavor.