Along with clinking Champagne glasses, kissing your sweetheart and shooting off fireworks, dropping large inanimate objects from the sky during a countdown has become a time-honored New Year's Eve tradition in the United States. Here are nine of the most interesting "time balls" being dropped around the nation.
The Quintessential Crystal Ball
Times Square, New York City – Containing 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles, the awe-inspiring 2014 globe will refract 16 million colors down on Manhattan streets and feature a panel designed by Coraliz Martinez, who was treated for bone cancer at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., in 2011. She is now cancer-free.
Atlanta – What else but an 800-pound fiberglass-and-foam peach could receive more applause while floating down from the sky here, where more than 1,000 spectators attend annually. This year, the fruit will be feted alongside recording artist Janelle Monae, comedian David Koechner and a giant peanut M&M as well.
A Ruby Red Slipper
Key West, Fla. – When the clock nears midnight, locals flock to Duval Street in Key West, where an over-sized ruby red high-heeled shoe descends from the balcony of the Bourbon Street Pub—with a drag queen named Sushi (aka Gary Marion) waving from inside.
The Most Massive Acorn
Raleigh, N.C. – Designed by a local resident, the 1,250-pound Raleigh Acorn is made of steel and copper to reference Raleigh's title as the "City of Oaks." The acorn is lowered each year from a crane during the First Night Raleigh celebration, first at 7 p.m. for children and again at midnight.
One Peep to Rule Them All
Bethlehem, Pa. – At the annual Peepsfest in Bethlehem, Pa., one would be hard pressed to walk two feet in any direction without walking into a yellow, marshmallow chick being eaten, sculpted in ice, crafted in dioramas or posing for photos. But the one bird all eyes are on at the end of the night is an 85-pound fiberglass resin Peep, lowered at the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks to cheers and fireworks.
The Missing Link
Lebanon, Pa. – Over in Lebanon, Pa., the locals are consumed with an entirely different edible: the 100-pound, 16-foot Lebanon Bologna link is lowered at the stroke of midnight to a crowd of kooky, carnivorous revelers below. The meat is later divided among local shelters.
Shaken, Not Stirred
Bartlesville, Okla. - Fans of 007 would do well to be in Bartlesville this New Year's Eve, where one annual tradition includes an enormous olive being slowly dropped into a martini glass from the top of the 19-story Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Price Tower. We'll toast to that.
Making a Splash
Vincennes, Ind. – Look out below if you're in Indiana. Vincennes locals hoist an 18-foot, 500-pound watermelon 100 feet into the sky in the countdown to midnight. The large fruit structure then opens a trapdoor at its base to release 12 to 14 real watermelons, which rain down onto a "splatform" below.
Kisses from the Sea
Prairie du Chien, Wis. – While CarpFest may not be the biggest celebration in the states, it certainly has a lock on luckiest. In the city of Prairie du Chien, Wis., along the Mississippi river, the Chamber of Commerce celebrates Lucky, a carp caught locally, that has been frozen and gilded before being put on display. During the countdown, Lucky is lowered 110 feet to the ground at midnight with a fireworks display lighting the way. Afterward, locals line up for a good luck kiss.