A mirror ball? Bo-ring. Around the South, we get creative with our New Year’s drops: Eastover, North Carolina, releases a wooden flea; Pensacola, Florida, plonks a giant pelican; and Gainesville, Georgia, the Poultry Capital of the World, lowers Chuck the Chicken. Here’s a countdown of ten more of our favorites.
10. A sunglass-wearing orange (Miami): A thirty-five-foot replica of Florida’s state fruit—eyes properly shielded—is lowered 400 feet from the top of the Hotel Intercontinental Miami.
9. Beach ball (Panama City, Florida): At midnight, a giant beach ball is released from a twelve-story tower. Those who can’t stay awake that late can celebrate with 10,000 standard-issue beach balls during the “family ball drop” at 8 p.m.
8. To-go cup (Savannah): Forget a drop! Never one to follow the crowd, the Hostess City of the South raises an open container during “Up the Cup on River Street.”
7. MoonPie (Mobile, Alabama): Every New Year’s Eve, this town drops the original marshmallow sandwich. Why? Mobile is home to America’s first Mardis Gras, and during the celebration, MoonPies are tossed from floats to parade-goers.
6. Peach (Atlanta): An 800-pound version of Georgia’s state fruit descends from a downtown tower of lights during the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in the Southeast.
5. Pickle (Mount Olive, North Carolina): Every New Year’s Eve, a giant green pickle descends from the Mt. Olive Pickle Company flagpole. No word on whether a sandwich and chips await it at the bottom.
4. Fleur-de-lis (New Orleans): The Crescent City releases the state symbol in Jackson Square, setting off a display of fireworks over the Mississippi River.
3. Drag queen (Key West, Florida): The town’s anything-goes vibe is on full display as Gary “Sushi” Marion descends to Duvall Street inside a giant high-heel shoe.
2. Golf ball (Hilton Head Island, South Carolina): Fore! Every New Year’s Eve, “The Golf Island” lowers the giant pocked ball from Harbour Town Lighthouse.
1. Live opossum (Brasstown, North Carolina): Despite protests from animal-rights activists, “The Opossum Capital of the World” puts a live one inside a Plexiglas pyramid, then lowers it from the roof of a convenience store before turning it loose.