Well, the Mayans were wrong, the world did not end, and so we will have to celebrate New Year’s 2013. As we plan our night, here are some ideas that were floated across the desk (in addition to some classic big city New Year's Eve parties). These certainly would be, well, memorable. Presenting 10 of the weirdest (and possibly most fun) New Year’s Eve celebrations:
#10 — Moon Pie New Year. In 1917, the Chattanooga Bakery created the Moon Pie product. Now almost a hundred years later, New Year’s Eve is celebrated in Mobile, Ala., with the lowering of an enormous lighted 600-pound Moon Pie emblem. According to local TV station WKRG, the Moon Pie is a popular throw used on Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebration, and thus is found fitting of the city’s New Year celebration. An old school band completes the down home vibe; for the 2013 celebration, it’s The Commodores. Our take: Is everyone drinking an RC Cola at this party?
#9 — The Wine Train. Over in Napa Valley, they love their wine, and apparently they enjoy riding trains while drinking wine. This is not hobos brown-bagging it, but instead is a dressed up ride through wine country on an antique train. A four-hour New Year's Eve journey includes a gourmet dinner with caviar and champagne, and there is a DJ and dancing back at the station when you return. Our take: Ridin’ that train, drinking champagne.
#8 — Dropping a Pickle. In Mt. Olive, N.C., they like to do their drop and get to bed. The Mt. Olive Pickle Company, a large food processing company, drops a pickle at 7 pm EST (the same time as midnight in Greenwich, England, home of Greenwich Mean Time). Gates for this family-friendly event open at 6 p.m. and it wraps up an hour later, which means you have plenty of time to drive the 70 miles up to Raleigh, grab a bite to eat and celebrate late into the night in more traditional fashion, where they just drop an enormous acorn. Our take: Corporate marketing budget remnant dollars?
#7 — Carp Fest. On the upper reaches of the Mississippi River, in the small town of Prairie du Chien, Wisc. (“Prairie of the Dog”), an almost week-long Carp Fest that includes a town football game and an ice fishing day, culminates with the “droppin’ of the carp” on New Year’s Eve. Our take: There’s something fishy about this small-town party, and we like it.
#6 — Boot Drop. Prescott, Ariz., likes its boots. And they drop an illuminated six-foot boot at midnight (and at 10 pm, for those who can’t stay up late). It’s part promotion for local businesses, but in it’s second year it hopes to become a town tradition. Our take: These boots are made for dropping.
#5 — Wild Times in Pennsylvania. Sometimes there are so many oddball celebrations that even we don’t know where to start. Items that (sometimes) get dropped in Pennsylvania’s small towns: a stuffed goat, a hemlock tree, a French fry, a canal boat, a kettle, a wrench (in the city of Mechanicsburg, of course), a sled, a pretzel, a frog, a lollipop and a pair of yellow britches. Our take: Pennsylvania throws down the gauntlet, challenging any other state to try to out-wacky them on New Year’s Eve.
#4 — Up or Down? What goes up must come down. In Richmond, Va., instead of lowering a ball, they have created a look-alike to New York City’s famous ball, and then they raise it at the same time that New York is lowering their own. It takes place at the Byrd Theater in Carytown. Our take: Someone has to keep the balance, after all.
#3 — Quentin Tarantino’s Night. In 1991, Quentin Tarantino was associate producer of a flop of a B-rated movie called “Past Midnight.” Today, he’s known for much better films (including “Django Unchained,” which is the #2 movie in the U.S.). To celebrate the adoration of Tarantino, the Auburn Public Theater in Auburn, New York, is hosting a Quentin Tarantino-themed New Year’s bash. Our take: Going as Bill from “Kill Bill” is a dangerous proposition for this party.
#2 — I’m on a Boat. For our No. 2 weird New Year’s Eve celebration, we turn toward London, where the Animal Party (you have to arrive in an animal costume or you are not allowed entrance) is held aboard the MS Stubnitz, a “former East German fishing vessel originally built in 1964” now serving as a traveling performance art space and music venue. A portion of the proceeds from this ticketed night go to the restoration of this odd boat. Our take: Expect animalistic tendencies.
#1 — The Possum Drop, the most peculiar New Year’s Eve celebration. In a Georgia town nicknamed “Possum Snout” (officially the town of Tallapoosa), they drop a stuffed possum on New Year’s Eve and name the annual Possum King & Queen. Similarly (although it actually won’t happen this year), a convenience store owner in Brasstown, N.C., has historically lowered a live possum from a pole beside the store, and then turned the possum (or opossum, depending on your spelling preference) loose. The Brasstown live possum drop is not happening this year, having been blocked by a PETA lawsuit. Our take: This is southern style that might make both Southern Living and Garden & Gun magazine readers run for the Mason-Dixon line.