NEWTON, Mass. – America’s top ten quirky New Year’s Eve celebrations have been announced today. From cheese-happy Plymouth, Wisconsin, to pickle passionate Mount Olive, North Carolina, these events offer travelers remarkably unique ways to usher in the New Year.
1. Pickle Party – Mount Olive, North Carolina
To ring in 2011, the Mt. Olive Pickle Company will present the 12th annual pickle drop – a fun-filled and free event which entails the lowering of a glowing, three-foot long pickle from the company’s flagpole. The pickle proceedings are at 7 p.m., or midnight Greenwich Mean Time, so event organizers recommend arriving early. Visitors awaiting the pickle drop can pre-party by partaking in pickle tasting and the event’s famous “Pickle Polka.”
2. Three’s a Charm – Key West, Florida
Florida’s southernmost point overflows with New Year’s Eve entertainment, offering three distinct—and eccentric— events. Travelers can celebrate the 18th annual conch shell drop at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, watch as a “pirate wench” is dropped from the top mast of a historic ship at Schooner Wharf Bar, or head to The Bourbon Street Pub where the drag queen, “Sushi” is lowered in an oversized, red high-heeled shoe to ring in the start of 2011.
3. Hanging with the Peeps – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Beginning at noon, visitors can enjoy almost six hours of festive fun at the Peeps Fest, the sweetest New Year’s celebration around. Families gather to celebrate the delicious marshmallow treats while taking part in Peeps-themed arts and crafts, live music and sampling the sugary treats. The event culminates with the drop of a 45-pound, four and a half foot-high Peeps Chick at 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $6 for ages 13 and older, $4 for ages 2-12.
4. Fishy Festivities – Port Clinton, Ohio
For more than 14 years, Port Clinton – also known as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” – has been home to the exciting Walleye Drop. This unique New Year’s Eve celebration includes games, fireworks and the dropping of a 20-foot, 600-pound walleye fish named Wylie at midnight. Attendees can warm up with walleye-themed food and drink, including walleye chowder, and a local wine specialty called, “Walleye White.”
5. Rockin’ Around the Clock – Memphis, Tennessee
New Year’s Eve is celebrated rock ‘n’ roll style starting at 8 p.m. in the heart of downtown Memphis. Travelers can get into the groove with live music from the band Rock Sugar and enjoy the festivities on famous Beale Street. At midnight, event-goers huddle at the Hard Rock Cafe to catch a glimpse of the 10-foot Gibson guitar dropped from the evening sky.
6. Georgia and the Giant Peach – Atlanta, Georgia
For more than twenty years, this southern metropolis has drawn a crowd of more than 100,000 onlookers for its legendary Giant Peach Drop. At midnight, a massive 800-pound peach descends from 138 feet in the heart of downtown Atlanta. For late night revelers, the party extends to Atlanta’s Underground where clubs and nightlife are abuzz until the wee hours.
7. Crab-Tastic Celebration – Easton, Maryland
This charming seaside town on the Chesapeake Bay offers visitors a seafood celebration unlike any other. At both 9 p.m. (for the kids) and midnight, a replica of a giant steamed red crab is lowered from the sky as part of Easton’s First Night celebration, which includes festivities at several downtown venues, and plenty of bands and performers. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for children under five.
8. Orange You Glad – Miami, Florida
Often referred to as the “Times Square of the South,” Miami’s citrusy celebration on New Year’s Eve does not disappoint. Nearly 250,000 people annually flock downtown to watch the 35-foot neon Big Orange drop 400 feet from the Hotel Intercontinental. A brilliant display of fireworks and a laser show accompany the breathtaking ball drop over Biscayne Bay.
9. Say Cheese! – Plymouth, Wisconsin
Travelers hankering for a hunk of cheese can head to Plymouth Wisconsin’s annual New Year’s Eve cheese drop celebration. The main event takes place at midnight when an 80-pound cheese wedge is dramatically lowered down a 100-foot ladder truck. The celebration takes place in the town’s Creamery Building parking lot, and features live music from local bands. Admission is free.
10. A Nutty Time – Raleigh, North Carolina
Nineteen years ago artist David Benson created a 1,200-pound acorn constructed from steel and copper in honor of Raleigh, “The City of Oaks.” Each year Benson polishes the acorn to ensure it looks its best for all to see as it is dropped on New Year’s Eve at City Hall Plaza; once at 7 p.m. and again at midnight for those who are out until the clock reaches twelve.
“While New York City is famous for its annual Times Square celebration, these lesser known, but uniquely exciting events offer quirky New Year’s Eve fun for families and midnight revelers alike,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor.