Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Wright way to celebrate New Year’s Eve

Photo by Elaine Warner
New York has its dramatic, nationally televised ball drop on New Year’s Eve but it’s not alone. Not one to let New York have all the limelight, the South offers many of its own, although these tend to be more colorful, like the MoonPie drop in Mobile or the drag queen known as Sushi inside a giant red high heel that falls on Duval Street in Key West — and boy does she look good!
            My dear travel writing buddy Elaine Warner of Oklahoma alerted me to a fun celebration in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where a massive olive drops down from the top of the Price Tower into an oversized martini glass at midnight. Now, that’s my idea of ringing in the New Year!
            The Price Tower, by the way, is the only fully realized skyscraper designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Not a “skyscraper” by today’s standards, the 19-story landmark completed in 1956 houses businesses, a hotel and dining. The restored 19th floor executive office of H.C. Price and the H.C. Price Company Corporate Apartment are available for viewing on a tour as well.
            The New Year’s Eve event — if you wish to join the organized fun — includes hors d'oeuvres, music, dancing and a champagne toast for $45. Hotel packages are also available. Proceeds from the event will be applied towards supporting the building’s World Heritage Nominated landmark status.
Here are a couple more weird New Year’s Eve celebrations in the South:
            A 1,250-pound steel-and-copper acorn is dropped at 7 p.m. (for the kids) and then again at midnight at City Plaza in Raleigh, North Carolina, as part of the First Night festivities. This year marks the 25th anniversary and the day brings lots of fun activities.
            Atlanta goes all out for its New Year’s celebration and drops — what else? — a giant peach for the annual Peach Drop, while in Miami they drop an orange and listen to Pitbull bring in the New Year for 2016. In different places in Maryland they drop a duck and a crab. 
In Key West, always known for a colorful good time, there's also a giant conch shell that falls from the top of Sloppy Joe's Bar and a pirate wench dropped from the mast of a schooner in the historic seaport, in addition to Sushi.
            Panama City drops 10,000 inflated beach balls at 8 p.m. on to the families present at Pier Park and at midnight follows with a large beach ball for the hearty partiers. In between there's lots of fun activities. Watch the video here.
            Over in Pensacola, a lighted pelican with a 20-foot wingspan rings in midnight with fun all day and all night as well.

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