What drops on New Year's Eve? Not just Times Square ball

 
Associated Press
Updated 12/30/2016 6:27 AM
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  • Female impersonator Gary Marion, known as Sushi, hangs in a giant replica of a woman's high heel shoe in Key West, Fla., last year. The Big Red Shoe Drop is one of several of the subtropical island city's takeoffs on New York City's Times Square ball drop.

    Female impersonator Gary Marion, known as Sushi, hangs in a giant replica of a woman's high heel shoe in Key West, Fla., last year. The Big Red Shoe Drop is one of several of the subtropical island city's takeoffs on New York City's Times Square ball drop. Associated Press file photo/Florida Keys News Bureau

  • The New Year's Eve ball rests at the top of a building overlooking Times Square in New York. The dropping of the ball has been a tradition in Times Square since 1907.

    The New Year's Eve ball rests at the top of a building overlooking Times Square in New York. The dropping of the ball has been a tradition in Times Square since 1907. Associated Press

  • A brightly lit gondola drops at Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe, Nev. It's one of a number of ceremonies in which various objects are dropped around the country to welcome in the new year.

    A brightly lit gondola drops at Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe, Nev. It's one of a number of ceremonies in which various objects are dropped around the country to welcome in the new year. Associated Press/Vail Resorts

NEW YORK -- That glittering ball in Times Square may be the best-known object dropping on New Year's Eve, but it's by no means the weirdest.

There's stiff competition in that category: Everything from a fish to a shoe to a giant candy Peep will descend on Saturday to welcome in 2017.

The tiny lakeside town of Port Clinton, Ohio, will celebrate the new year by dropping a 20-foot-long, 600-pound replica of a walleye fish. The annual Idaho potato drop in Boise will feature a massive lit-up "glowtato" to celebrate one of the state's most famous products. In Lake Tahoe, Nevada, a brightly lit gondola is dropped at the Heavenly Mountain ski resort.

In Key West, Florida, four different things -- including two humans -- are lowered to welcome the new year. A giant conch shell is dropped at Sloppy Joe's Bar, a costumed "pirate wench" is lowered outside the Schooner Wharf Bar, a wedge of Key lime descends into a huge margarita glass at the Ocean Key House Resort, and of course in what is probably Key West's most famous New Year's Eve tradition, a large red high-heeled shoe carrying female impersonator Gary "Sushi" Marion is lowered outside the Bourbon Street Pub complex on Duval Street.

Children gather around a large Peep after it was dropped during a New Year's Eve celebration at the Levitt Pavillion on the Steelstacks Campus in Bethlehem, Pa. It's one of a number of ceremonies in which various objects are dropped around the country to welcome in the new year.
Children gather around a large Peep after it was dropped during a New Year's Eve celebration at the Levitt Pavillion on the Steelstacks Campus in Bethlehem, Pa. It's one of a number of ceremonies in which various objects are dropped around the country to welcome in the new year. - Associated Press file photo

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, hosts a two-day family-friendly Peeps festival that includes the dropping of a 200-pound lit-up Peeps chick. Peeps manufacturer Just Born began operating in Bethlehem in the 1930s.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a lit-up guitar is dropped at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street. Raleigh, North Carolina, which calls itself the city of oaks, drops a giant acorn to welcome the new year. Atlanta hosts a peach drop, and New Orleans drops a fleur-de-lis.

The tradition of dropping a ball to mark a moment dates back to the 19th century, but it didn't originate as a New Year's Eve custom. "Time balls" were once displayed in harbors and lowered daily to signal a certain time of day so that ships could precisely set the chronometers they used for navigation. The New Year's Eve tradition began in 1907 when a time ball was dropped as part of a public celebration hosted by The New York Times at its building in Times Square.

The Times Square ball has been redesigned a number of times over the decades. It was originally made of iron, wood and 25-watt light bulbs. The ball that will drop Saturday night in the moments leading up to midnight is made from Waterford crystal triangles, illuminated by thousands of LED lights.

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