RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina residents are welcoming Baby New Year on Saturday by dropping a pickle, an acorn and a flea.
Celebrations across the state are scheduled to include a wide variety of unlikely objects that are dropped as midnight arrives, in local variations on the famous Times Square ball.
Ever see a crab pot descending from on high? Morehead City’s got you covered. What about a 30-pound flea made of fabric and wood? In the Cumberland County town of Eastover, that’s happening on the aptly-named Flea Hill.
And in the far western corner of the state, the Clay County community of Brasstown will witness the Opossum Drop, in which a live marsupial is lowered to the ground at Clay’s Corner Store as midnight arrives. Gently lowered, proprietor Clay Logan says, responding to criticism this year from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which sought to have the state prohibit the event.
It’s not feasible to be at all of these, of course, which is where the drop in Mount Olive comes in. The Mt. Olive Pickle Company will lower a giant, lit-up pickle from the company flagpole, as it’s done for the last 12 years. But not only is the pickle drop streamed live on the company’s website, it also happens at 7p.m. — midnight in Greenwich Mean Time — giving revelers the chance to head elsewhere later in the night.
Maybe in Raleigh, for example, where the steel-and-brass acorn that is lowered from a crane every New Year’s Eve will have a special significance on Saturday.
The symbol of the City of Oaks was damaged by the April 16 tornado that killed four children in Raleigh and forced Shaw University to shut down for the spring semester. After the city council approved $3,400 to pay a sculptor to refurbish the acorn, it will be ready to help the city usher in the new year.