I’ve started planning my New Year’s Eve celebration menu (which includes lots of dip), and it reminded me of this blog entry from 2012. And yes, I’ll be celebrating from the comfort and warmth of my couch at home!
You know how you know when you’re getting old? When you stop thinking that spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square would be “a really awesome experience.”
I got smart and gave up that dream around the age of 32. That’s when I realized that spending eight hours in freezing weather surrounded by a drunken mob of tens of thousands of people might not be such an awesome experience after all.
Today, I’m quite content to spend New Year’s Eve on the couch with my wife, in the warmth of my own home. We still enjoy watching the ball drop on TV, though. I’m not sure how the tradition of dropping a ball started, but it’s inspired hundreds of towns of all sizes to drop all sorts of weird things to ring in the New Year.
In Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, they drop a dead carp seated in a throne. Honolulu drops a pineapple (no surprise there). In my hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they drop a giant strawberry. Fruit seems to be a popular choice for many cities. Peaches, oranges, apples, lemons – they’re all dropped in towns across the nation.
Only one town that I know of drops a watermelon. That takes place in Vincennes, Indiana. The town (pop. 18,449) grows watermelon and hosts the annual Vincennes Watermelon Festival, so their New Year’s Eve choice kind of makes sense.
But the townsfolk in Vincennes don’t just raise a watermelon to the top of a building in the center of town. No, no. They use a crane to raise a minivan-sized watermelon about 100 feet into the air and then, at the stroke of midnight, ten real watermelons fall from the belly of the big one and smash to bits on the ground. Check out the festivities in the video below.
Is it weird? Sure, but it’s no weirder than freezing your butt off in Times Square, hoping only to catch a glimpse of the ball because you’re three blocks away from the action.
UP NEXT: My 2015 New Year’s resolution