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Times
Square? Been there, seen that crystal ball. Here’s where to find wacky,
unexpected New Year’s Eve drops.

Not
everyone will be toasting 2012 with champagne. In Bartlesville, OK, the biggest
drink is, literally, a martini: locals drop a massive olive into a glass from
the top of a Frank Lloyd Wright–designed skyscraper.

New
Year’s Eve is ultimately about the countdown, and it’s made official when something drops at midnight. Across America, places like Bartlesville have gotten
creative. Some wacky drops pay tribute to local products or tastes, while
others just go all-out outrageous. Whether you’re braving the crowds or
watching in a hotel room, cheering a drop is part of the year-end
spectacle—before the hangover and resolutions kick in.

The ball
drop tradition dates back only to the early 1900s, when New York Times owner Alfred Ochs, whose offices were in Times Square, convinced the city to
let him throw a grand party. The
first 400-pound iron and wood orb featured 100 bulbs and was lowered down a
flagpole. Now it’s an 11,875-pound, 12-foot geodesic globe encrusted with 2,688 Waterford
crystals.

Roughly
a million people flock to see that Times Square ball in person, and millions more
tune in around the world. There’s a shared quality to the scenes of fireworks,
noisemakers, and partygoers in public squares and crowded bars that flash
across TV screens as time zone after time zone counts down. But which object
gets dropped is very much a local choice.

Take
Key West,
FL, which may not have Waterford crystals, but makes its own flamboyant New
Year’s statement. For more than a decade, locals have cheered outside a bar
on Duval Street as a red ruby high-heeled shoe —with a drag queen named
Sushi seated inside—is lowered from the balcony.

There
are actual food drops, too, that offer a visual bite of local delicacies. Atlanta, for instance, releases
an 800-pound fiberglass-and-foam peach. Known
for its multimillion-dollar melon industry, Vincennes, IN, raises an 18-foot
watermelon into the sky, which then opens to release 12 real Knox County
watermelons.

Read
on for our complete list of wacky New Year’s drops—worth celebrating no matter
where you ring in 2012. —Alix
Strauss

Wackiest New Year's Eve Ball Drops

Times
Square? Been there, seen that crystal ball. Here’s where to find wacky,
unexpected New Year’s Eve drops.

Not
everyone will be toasting 2012 with champagne. In Bartlesville, OK, the biggest
drink is, literally, a martini: locals drop a massive olive into a glass from
the top of a Frank Lloyd Wright–designed skyscraper.

New
Year’s Eve is ultimately about the countdown, and it’s made official when something drops at midnight. Across America, places like Bartlesville have gotten
creative. Some wacky drops pay tribute to local products or tastes, while
others just go all-out outrageous. Whether you’re braving the crowds or
watching in a hotel room, cheering a drop is part of the year-end
spectacle—before the hangover and resolutions kick in.

The ball
drop tradition dates back only to the early 1900s, when New York Times owner Alfred Ochs, whose offices were in Times Square, convinced the city to
let him throw a grand party. The
first 400-pound iron and wood orb featured 100 bulbs and was lowered down a
flagpole. Now it’s an 11,875-pound, 12-foot geodesic globe encrusted with 2,688 Waterford
crystals.

Roughly
a million people flock to see that Times Square ball in person, and millions more
tune in around the world. There’s a shared quality to the scenes of fireworks,
noisemakers, and partygoers in public squares and crowded bars that flash
across TV screens as time zone after time zone counts down. But which object
gets dropped is very much a local choice.

Take
Key West,
FL, which may not have Waterford crystals, but makes its own flamboyant New
Year’s statement. For more than a decade, locals have cheered outside a bar
on Duval Street as a red ruby high-heeled shoe —with a drag queen named
Sushi seated inside—is lowered from the balcony.

There
are actual food drops, too, that offer a visual bite of local delicacies. Atlanta, for instance, releases
an 800-pound fiberglass-and-foam peach. Known
for its multimillion-dollar melon industry, Vincennes, IN, raises an 18-foot
watermelon into the sky, which then opens to release 12 real Knox County
watermelons.

Read
on for our complete list of wacky New Year’s drops—worth celebrating no matter
where you ring in 2012. —Alix
Strauss

Andy Newman, Florida Keys News Bureau

Wackiest New Year's Eve Ball Drops

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