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Creating a signature event that eventually becomes a tradition is no small feat.  We in the PR industry, and those who provide tourism public relations, often work with our clients to come up with something unique, memorable and client-specific to help them stand-out.  Also part of that conversation is how NOT to stage a boring, signature event.

Now that the new year is upon us, we can reflect on the evolution of New Year’s Eve events that recognize the stroke of midnight and how, at the very least, are creative and timeless ways to welcome a new calendar year.

Of course, New York City has its famous glittering Ball Drop in Times Square attended by millions and seen worldwide by millions more.

Here are some rival signature events for best – or at least different --  New Year’s Eve traditions:

  • Flagstaff, Ariz., has the Great Pinecone Holiday revelers pour into the streets of downtown Flagstaff to see a 70-pound, six-foot, lighted aluminum pinecone lowered from the Weatherford Hotel to mark the magical moment.
  • Temecula, Calif., stages the Grape Drop . With a special affinity to the HMA staffers who love wine country and its bounty, a brightlylit 5-foot wide by 8-foot long sequined bunch of grapes is dropped from the Civic Center clock tower in Town Square Park.
  • Boise, Idaho, features the Potato Drop. The state is proud to be known for its potato production, so it makes sense that the spud is dropped at the State Capitol.
  • Atlanta showcases the Peach Drop. An 800-pound peach is lowered in the downtown’s Woodruff Park.
  • Memphis, Tenn., rings in the new year with a Guitar Drop. The Hard Rock Café hosts the event in which a 10-foot D-Angelico guitar drops.
  • Bethlehem, Pa., offers a PEEPS Drop. A 400-pound PEEPS Chick is dropped as part of the city’s annual PEEPSFest, hosted by the maker of the treat, Just Born Quality Confections.
  • Brasstown, N.C., conducts a Possum Drop!   For years, Clay’s Corner, a North Carolina convenience store, lowered a live possum at midnight.  The store’s owner has since retired, but the Possum Drop still occurs.

There are more, but these are among my favorite New Year’s Eve signature events.  Tourism PR pros should keep this in mind when brainstorming for your next signature event:  “Don’t drop the ball.”

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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