Courtesy of Walleye Madness at Midnight
The town of Port Clinton, Ohio, celebrates New Year's Eve with a 20-foot, 600-pound walleye.
When it comes to celebrating New Year's Eve with the kids, family-friendly events may be a little difficult to come by during a celebration that seems to revolve around champagne. Boston led the way for First Night celebrations with the very first First Night held in 1976. The New Year's Eve event banned alcohol, ensuring the countdown to midnight was family friendly. By 2006, more than a million attended the city's First Night Celebration. Today, First Night in Boston features fireworks at midnight over Boston Harbor, among citywide attractions. Other notable First Night cities include historic Old Town Alexandria, Va., Pittsburgh, Pa., Providence, R.I., and Bethlehem, Pa.
Still, there are other ways to celebrate New Year's Eve: finding the most unusual ball drop possible. Forget Times Square's ball drop, we have PEEPs, acorns, peaches, conch shells and kisses! Take a look at these, shall we say, more interesting, New Year's Eve ball drops:
For Georgia Peaches and anyone else looking to enjoy New Year's Eve in the South, Atlanta's Peach Drop is the party to attend. The 800-pound peach is dropped annually in Atlanta's Underground, after a full day's fun. The Family Fun & Budding Peach Stage provides carnival-style rides, face painting, musical performances and more from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. All day and night, live music is performed in Kenny's Alley, with big screen TVs playing the Chick-Fil-A-Bowl before the evening festivities. This year, the band Kansas is the headliner of the night.
Bethlehem, Pa., may better be known as Christmas City USA, but it's also the home of Just Born Inc., the makers of PEEPS, those sugar-marshmallow concoctions that make their way to stores at Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Bethlehem's New Year's Eve celebration incorporates the famous treat maker's PEEPS with its New Year's Eve 25-pound fiberglass PEEP Drop. Families can enjoy PEEPS Fest from noon to 5 p.m. with live music, arts and crafts, S'mores, photos with the PEEPS Chick, movies and more. Bethlehem also offers a Family New Year's Eve Party from 1 to 3 p.m. at Musikfest Cafe with a kid-friendly DJ, crafts, face painting and bounce house.
Hershey, Pa., home of Hershey Chocolate, celebrates New Year's Eve with a giant Hershey Kiss drop at midnight. The free event takes place 9 p.m. to midnight at the Square in Hershey, with family-friendly musical performances (a Nickelodeon star will be performing this year) leading up to the drop. Once the giant kiss drops, fireworks top off the celebration. The event is non-alcoholic, and vendors will be on hand all night with snack options.
Life's always a beach on the Florida Panhandle's Panama City Beach. What else do you drop on a New Year's Eve but a giant beachball? The event takes place at Pier Park and features an 800-pound beach ball made of Waterford Crystal. The fourth annual drop features a family celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with family performance and ending with an inflated beach ball drop and fireworks. For those old enough to stay out later, more music, fireworks and the official beachball drop occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.
In Raleigh, N.C., forget the ball drop, it's a 1,200-pound copper acorn that welcomes in the New Year! The New Year's Eve festivities begins at 2 p.m. with children's celebration, followed by the People's Procession of costumed people with puppets marching down Fayetteville Street at 6 p.m. Knowing little ones can't stay awake until midnight, the town drops the acorn at 7 p.m. for an early children's countdown, and then again at midnight for the purists.
Maryland is known for crabs and in Easton, Md., the end of the year is celebrated with a giant crab. The event is part of First Night Talbot (County) and includes a family drop at 9 p.m., reminding families that 9 p.m. is actually midnight in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and Easton is located in the mid-Atlantic. (Get it?) A second drop occurs at midnight, with the papier mache, steel-reinforced crab meant to look like the area's famed blue crabs.
Way back during World War II, bombardiers claimed to be so accurate that they could drop a bomb into a pickle barrel. This gave the Mt. Olive Pickle Company the brilliant idea of hosting a New Year's Eve Pickle Drop. The lighted green pickle is dropped at 7 p.m., which is midnight Greenwich Mean Time, so it's perfect for families who can make their way to Mount Olive, N.C., for the event.
Lebanon's bologna may not have a famous first name, but the Pennsylvania city has been making bologna for generations. As home to Weaver's Bologna, since 1885 Lebanon celebrates New Year's Eve with an annual bologna drop. The 12-foot-long, 150-pound bologna is actually the real deal it's literally bologna! Located just two hours from Philadelphia, the Lebanon event runs 10:30 a.m. to midnight with a number of events and entertainment to entertain the family.
The small town of Port Clinton, Ohio, has landed in the public eye for its New Year's Eve celebration featuring a 20-foot, 600-pound walleye fish. The entire town goes gaga for walleye with restaurants serving up special dishes and a local winery creating a Walleye White. Events begin at 6 p.m. with a kids drop in the Family Fun Center, followed by games, music and a huge rock-paper-scissors contest! Even after 10 p.m., musicians are family-friendly, and after "Wylie" the Walleye fish is dropped, fireworks end the party.
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