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Duck Drop, fireworks still planned to ring in New Year’s in Havre de Grace

The City of Havre de Grace’s annual Duck Drop and fireworks to celebrate the new year is still happening, but with a few changes.

Like last year, the event will take place at Concord Point Park where the large wooden decoy and the numbers 2021 will begin to descend as the clock counts down to midnight on New Year’s Eve. And like many of the past two decades, the duck will be dropped from the Susquehanna Hose Company’s 102-foot ladder truck.

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But unlike previous years, when crowds would gather to watch the Duck Drop live, organizers are hoping most people will stay home and view the celebration online, or at least do so in person from the safety of their vehicles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jared Noe, the owner of the State Theater in Havre de Grace, provided links to live stream the event.

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“It’s going to be a link where you can view it on Facebook or YouTube,” said Lauri Orzewicz, manager of Tourism for City of Havre de Grace. “Jared is streaming it live, he’s going to pre-record some stuff, but then the actual Duck Drop and fireworks are going to be streamed live.”

There will be no food or drink offered on the premises this year. The Susquehanna Hose support committee, which usually offers drinks and snacks, will be offering up face masks and sanitizer instead for those who just can’t stay away.

“Hopefully, a lot of people will stay in their cars,” said Ed Grainger, a member of the Susquehanna Hose Company and the chairman of the Duck Drop committee.

Unlike when the event was held at the since-demolished Havre de Grace Middle School, there isn’t as much visibility for the Duck Drop at Concord Point Park, he said.

Fireworks shot off from a barge after the drop, though, will be viewable from “anywhere from the Lock House to Tydings Park, and in Perryville, from Perryville Park all the way up to Perryville City Hall,” Patrick Sypolt, the city’s director of administration, said at Monday’s City Council meeting. “So it’s a large viewing area where people can remain well dispersed.”

Whether watching in-person on online, don’t expect many changes to the 2021 duck, other than the date.

“It’s the same as everything from last year, it’s going to be very laid back,” Grainger said.

One new offering will be “Taste of Grace” dinner boxes, a three-course meal for two offered through a collaboration of popular downtown restaurants Laurrapin Catering, Coakley’s Pub and MacGregor’s, which will be available before the duck drop.

“They created the whole dinner in a box thing,” Orzewicz said. “So, you can have your meal, you can have entertainment, you can have the Duck Drop, the fireworks and everything and you don’t have to leave your house. I hope people do it.”

For $79, the ready-to-heat dinner box includes an appetizer, two entrees and two desserts. Entrees include a choice of filet mignon, twin crab cakes or veggie Wellington. The box also includes New Year’s Eve party favors and a pair of commemorative glasses purchased by the city.

“They have the lighthouse with the fireworks behind it, etched in it and it says, ‘New Year’s Eve 2021,’ ” Orzewicz said.

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A bottle of champagne can be added to the dinner boxes for $10. Interested persons can visit tasteofgrace.eventbrite.com to create and order their box. The dinners will be pickup only between 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 31 on Franklin Street outside of Coakley’s Pub.

Ticket Link for Taste of Grace is http://tasteofgrace.eventbrite.com

“The people who place the orders never leave their vehicle,” Sypolt said, adding the restaurants anticipate about 300 dinner boxes being sold.

The city council approved spending $584 for the public works department to close down certain streets during pickup of Taste of Grace boxes starting at 3 p.m., and again close some streets near Concord Point Park to allow the fire department to set up for the Duck Drop.

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