The Times Square ball won't be the only that item that will be dropping from high perches around the country for the New Year's Eve countdown. The illuminated crystal ball that descends in New York City a minute before midnight has become such a famous tradition that cities around the country have created their own unique takes on the ritual.
Here is a sampling of odd-ball drops that will ring in the New Year:
1) Live possum
Brasstown, N.C., gently lowers a caged possum at midnight. The critter is then set free.
Mobile, Ala., drops a 12-foot electronic MoonPie logo made of plastic and LED lights from the 34-story RSA Trustmark building. Why wait for Mardi Gras to enjoy the confection?
Atlanta lowers an 800-pound peach made of fiberglass and foam from a 138-foot tower of lights. More than 170,000 people are expected to cheer the fruit's descent.
Although Easter is usually the busy time of year for Peeps, Bethlehem, Pa., where the marshmallow confection is made, will drop a giant Peep from the top of the manufacturer's headquarters.
5) Chunk of cheese
In a salute to Wisconsin’s dairy industry, the city of Plymouth will drop a decorated metal cheese wedge from a truck ladder raised 100 feet high, according to the Plymouth Arts Center.
6) Beach ball
What better way to celebrate in Panama City, Fla., than with a beach ball? An 800-pound LED-lighted beach ball will descend nearly 100 feet in this seaside city.
In Prescott, Ariz., residents will watch an illuminated 6-foot cowboy boot being lowered from a fire engine ladder for the third year.
The original New Year's Eve ball
The Times Square ball will descend a 130-foot pole to the cheers of hundreds of thousands of revelers in a tradition that has come to symbolize the nation's New Year moment. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who grew up in the Bronx, will press the button to begin the ball drop from atop the 1 Times Square building.
"There is a real emotional connection" with the dropping ball, said Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment, an organizer of Times Square New Year's Eve. "It's a shared moment. So when you think about all the drops, that's a big sign of our success."
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