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Susquehanna Life

Only in PA: Unique New Year's Eve Drops

Nov 17, 2017 01:05PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Harrisburg New Year's Eve Fireworks

Pennsylvania cities and towns have adopted Manhattan’s tradition of dropping a large object at midnight after a countdown, but they put their own regional spin on the festivities. Local organizers have gotten creative, leading to some truly bizarre object choices. Three, two, one…Happy New Year!

The most iconic New Year’s Eve tradition, which began in 1907, is to watch the great illuminated ball drop in New York City's Times Square. This was inspired by an even earlier tradition that began in 1833 at England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich, which would drop a “time-ball” at 1 p.m. every day so nearby ships could coordinate their clocks. Choose which event you’ll attend, and let the good times roll…or, rather, drop!


Bring in the New Year at the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” Philadelphia. A 700-pound stainless steel mushroom is lowered to count down the New Year as a nod to the town’s acres of fungus fields. The “Midnight in the Square” event in Kennett Square features music, food and entertainment and culminates with the mushroom drop at midnight.

Marshmallow Peep®--Bethlehem

For a truly one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve celebration, First Night® Bethlehem “peeps” with pride (the sweet treats are made here). 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 excited crowd, ringing in the New Year.


Hershey’s Kiss–Hershey

Begin the New Year at this well-known chocolate town, as it 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 among a sweet-toothed crowd, and a midnight fireworks display completes a family-friendly night in downtown Hershey.


Godshall’s Quality Meats, owners of Weaver’s Famous Lebanon Bologna, donates a 150-pound Lebanon bologna for the annual festivity. It is encased in a metal frame and suspended from a fire department ladder truck, and donated to a local rescue mission after the celebration. Crowds count down the seconds, and the 16-foot Lebanon Bologna comes to a stop at the stroke of midnight.


Although Dillsburg has nothing to do with pickles—the town is named after founder Matt Dill—the town has fun with its name. Dillsburg celebrates its annual Pickle Drop at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Once the delicious dill has descended into the barrel, the party continues with a fireworks display lasting until 12:30 a.m.

Yuengling Beer Bottle–Pottsville


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.

Strawberry – Harrisburg

(See main photo)

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.


Watch Bucky the Beaver descend from the sky this New Year’s Eve 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 

The fourth McClure Kettle Drop New Year’s Eve Celebration at the McClure Fire Hall is 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, a living memorial to all veterans of all wars.

Red Rose–Lancaster 

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 features more than 20 indoor performances. Countdown Lancaster is a family-oriented event filled with visual and performing entertainment ending in a midnight fireworks display. Rose–York

Attendees of York’s New Year’s Eve celebration enjoy a children’s countdown to the balloon drop from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., with complimentary hats and noisemakers. 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.–Mechanicsburg

The result of an Eagle Scout project by Mechanicsburg Area School District graduate Sheldon Rodgers, this small town west of Harrisburg dropped its first wrench on New Year’s Eve in 2004. The galvanized steel wrench commemorates the borough’s founders—mechanics who settled in the area to make and repair wagons that were traveling west after crossing the Susquehanna River in the early 19th century. The town celebrates the New Year from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with the annual drop of a wrench in front of the Washington Fire Company at 53 E. Main St.


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 from 10 p.m. to midnight.

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