Embracing the tradition of New York City's annual New Year's Eve countdown and ball drop, several cities and small towns throughout the Southeast have created their own countdown and ball drop celebrations, each with a local twist. A festive and unique array of fruits, nuts, vegetables and a few other items delight crowds of revelers as they descend or ascend to welcome the New Year.
Atlanta, Georgia - New Year's Eve Peach
Photo: Courtesy Underground Atlanta / Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
Join about 100,000 New Year's Eve revelers at Underground Atlanta's annual Peach Drop, the largest New Year's Eve celebration in the Southeast and one of the largest events in the nation. Made of painted fiberglass and foam, the giant Atlanta peach measures 8-feet tall, 8-feet wide and weighs more than 800 pounds. The celebration begins at noon with fun for all ages and continues well into the wee hours for the serious partiers. Following the 138-foot peachy descent, fireworks and confetti will add to the festivities.
Additional Information: New Year's Eve in Atlanta
Gatlinburg, Tennessee - New Year's Eve Lighted Ball
Following the tradition of New York City's celebration, Gatlinburg welcomes the New Year with a street party and a lighted ball drop during the midnight countdown. The Gatlinburg celebration, however, takes place at the Gatlinburg Space Needle with a backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains in place of Time Square's bright Broadway lights. The street party begins at 11 p.m.
Additional Information: City of Gatlinburg Department of Tourism Website Gatlinburg Space Needle Website
Key West, Florida - Various New Year's Eve Countdown Items
In Key West, New Year's Eve partygoers have a few unique countdown choices. Sloppy Joe's Bar lowers a six-foot Queen Conch Shell, while Schooner Wharf Bar lowers a Pirate Wench from the mast of a tall ship complete with cannon blast, the release of doves, party favors and more. At the Bourbon Street Pub, one of the most unusual New Year's Eve countdowns in the nation features a popular local drag queen, Sushi
, descending from a balcony while seated in a giant red high-heeled shoe.
Additional Information: New Year's Eve in Florida from About.com's Florida Travel Guide
North Carolina - Island of Lights Giant Beach Ball Countdown
Photo: Courtesy Cape Fear Coast CVB
Alternates each year between Carolina Beach and Kure Beach - The annual Island of Lights New Year's Eve celebration features a midnight giant beach ball of lights followed by a fireworks display to welcome the New Year. Offering live music, dancing, refreshments for purchase and more, this family friendly celebration for all ages is free and begins at 9 p.m.
Additional Information: Island of Lights Website
Miami, Florida - New Year's Eve Big Orange
Miami's signature New Year's Eve icon, The Big Orange
, is a 35-foot neon that ascends 400 feet to its home atop The Hotel InterContinental Miami each year to welcome the New Year. A dazzling fireworks and laser show follows the countdown. The Big Orange
, which represents a different theme each year, was designed with the color orange symbolizing change and unity, the green hope, growth and renewal. It is an official Time Ball of the World. The ascent begins at 6 p.m. and a free concert at Bayfront Park
(301 N. Biscayne Boulevard) begins at 8 p.m. with fireworks at midnight.
Additional Information: New Year's Eve in Miami from About.com's Miami Local Guide
Mobile, Alabama - MoonPie Over Mobile
Image Credit: Mobile New Year
Mobile, Alabama welcomes the New Year and the Mardi Gras season
with the world's largest MoonPie, raised to light up the city's skyline at the stroke of midnight. The giant electronic MoonPie weighs 600 pounds and features well over 1,000 lights. The MoonPie symbol was selected because of the popularity of this iconic treat during Mobile's annual Mardi Gras celebrations.
Additional Information:More About MoonPie Over Mobile
Mt. Olive, North Carolina - New Year's Eve Pickle
Photo: Courtesy of Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc.
Located 15 miles south of Goldsboro, Mt. Olive welcomes the new year with one of the most unique countdowns in the nation, the New Year's Eve Pickle Drop. Home of the Mt. Olive Pickle Company, this community of fewer than 5000 residents begins the festivities at 6 p.m. with live music and refreshments. The Pickle Drop takes place at the corner of Cucumber and Vine, but if you are planning to attend, don't wait until midnight. The Pickle Drop is scheduled to coincide with midnight Greenwich Mean Time, or 7 p.m. North Carolina time. And, it is all over by about 7:05 p.m.
Additional Information: Mt. Olive Pickle Company Website
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Panama City Beach, Florida - New Year's Eve Beach Ball Drop
Photo: Panama City Beach, Florida - New Year's Eve Beach Ball Drop
Panama City Beach drops (what else?) a glowing, 800-pound beach ball at midnight to welcome the New Year. The festivities take place in Pier Park, a regional lifestyle center across the street from City Pier and the beach. Family-friendly fun begins at 5:30 p.m., including entertainment, activities and an early family beach ball drop of inflatable beach balls plus fireworks at 8 p.m. The evening continues with live music and, at midnight, the countdown, beach ball drop and a dazzling fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico.
Additional Information: More About the Panama City Beach New Year's Eve Beach Ball Drop
Raleigh, North Carolina - New Year's Eve Acorn
Photo: Courtesy of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau
Known as the City of Oaks
, Raleigh, North Carolina has been welcoming the New Year with a New Year's Eve Acorn Drop since 1992. The Raleigh Acorn was created by sculptor David Benson in 1991, an idea prompted by Raleigh resident John Watkins, in preparation for the city's 1992 bicentennial celebration. The copper and steel sculpture, which weighs 1,250 pounds and is 10 feet tall, is displayed in Moore Square throughout the year. On New Year's Eve it is hoisted by a crane and descends during the First Night Raleigh midnight countdown to mark the beginning of the New Year.
Additional Information: More About First Night Raleigh and other First Night Celebrations