2011-01-06 / Local & State

Pa. Drops Pickle, Coal, Crayon To Mark 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Who needs a glittery crystal ball on New Year’s Eve, when you can drop pickles or coal or crayons?

You name it, they drop it in Pennsylvania to mark the arrival of a new year.

In Easton, crayon-maker Crayola seems to think “vivid tangerine’’ will be 2011’s coolest color. That’s the hue of the 10-foot, lighted fiberglass crayon at the center of a family-focused celebration.

The community of Dillsburg, in York County, goes in for gherkins as the year winds down. In Shamokin, they drop – gently, one hopes – a giant lump of coal.

In Pottsville, home to the D.G. Yuengling & Son brewery, the tradition gets flipped on its head.

“You’re not supposed to drop a beer bottle,’’ city administrator Tom Palamar noted.

So celebrants instead raise a giant faux bottle of Yuengling Lager to toast the new year.

“The brewery did manufacture the bottle for us,’’ Palamar said. “It’s probably about 15 to 20 pounds.’’

The folksy traditions play, of course, on New York City’s celebrated drop of a Waterford crystal ball before the screaming masses in Times Square.

Far fewer people may turn out in Lewistown to see a bag of Hartley’s Potato Chips descend or in Mechanicsburg to see a wrench drop, but that doesn’t make the events any less meaningful, one organizer said.

“People want to express the identity of their town in some way through some symbolic gesture,’’ said Mike Stershic, president of Discover Lehigh Valley. “New York will always have one of the biggest crowds, but ... there are other alternatives that are closer to home.’’

And what speaks of the new year, and new life, more than a baby chick? In Bethlehem’s case, it’s an 80-pound fiberglass Peeps chick that descends from a crane, an homage to the marshmallow treats whipped by local confectioner Just Born Inc.

In Lebanon, they drop the real stuff, a 12-foot chunk of the bologna that shares a name with the central Pennsylvania town.

“We’re the only town that actually lowers something that is edible,’’ organizer Jody Kasperowicz said.

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