New Year’s Eve will look different for many people this year, but some Arizona cities still plan to drop weird objects from giant heights.
The end of 2020 is upon us, and it’s safe to say Arizona’s New Year’s Eve celebrations might look a little different this year.
The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent social distancing and mask-wearing policies have fundamentally changed the way we live our lives this year.
Despite this, some Arizona cities plan to carry on their traditions of dropping weird items from great heights, in the spirit of the ball drop in New York’s Times Square each New Year’s Eve.
But unlike the glittering crystal and LED-lighted ball in Times Square, Arizona cities have dropped everything from iceberg lettuce to pinecones to a giant cowboy boot.
Here’s how some Arizona cities plan to continue those traditions this New Year’s Eve, and how you can catch the festivities this year.
Flagstaff Pinecone Drop
In Northern Arizona, Flagstaff-area residents have watched a giant, lighted pinecone drop from the roof of the Weatherford Hotel just before midnight for the past two decades.
The tradition kicked off in 1999, when the hotel was celebrating its 100-year anniversary.
The lowering of the pinecone is typically accompanied by a brief fireworks display. This year, the pinecone drop will also be accompanied by a performance from the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet.
While the event typically draws thousands, gathering on the streets outside the Weatherford is prohibited this year. Interested viewers can instead catch the ceremony at pineconedrop.com.
In addition to watching the ceremony from home, the city is also encouraging residents to construct their own pinecones at home.
Their recommendation? Gather a pinecone or carve one from styrofoam, paint or spray adhesive onto it, add paint or colored glitter and gently hoist your creation down from a tree. If it’s too cold outside? “Hoist the pinecone from a door, a floor lamp, from something tall inside your home . . . you get the idea. Make it work for you.”
Prescott Boot Drop
In the central Arizona city of Prescott, thousands of people gather downtown in the historic Whiskey Row to watch a six-foot-tall lighted cowboy boot drop from a flagpole atop the Palace Restaurant and Saloon.
This year, viewers can still watch the boot drop, only this time on their phones, YouTube, or on their TV.
The virtual boot drop will be held at 9:30 p.m. and again at 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
The boot drop will be preceded by a 30-minute program called “Give 2020 the Boot,” that will go over the history of the boot drop and features live performances from local band, Scandalous Hands, as well as X Factor’s Drew Ryniewicz and performer Candice Devine.
Viewers can tune in to the boot drop on Youtube or on local Prescott channel 64.
Show Low Deuce of Clubs Drop
Show Low, the eastern Arizona city that sits at the southern edge of Navajo County, will continue with its tradition of dropping an illuminated playing card, the deuce of clubs.
The deuce of clubs, which is also emblazoned with Arizona’s state flag, holds special significance for the town.
According to the Show Low Historical Society Museum, the town was acquired in a card game where two ranch owners were betting on the future of the ranch. When one turned over a deuce of clubs, he went on to win 100,000 acres of land, cattle, crops and buildings.
Today, Show Low’s main street is called the Deuce of Clubs.
The drop will take place at 11:30 p.m. and be broadcast live on the city’s Facebook page. Fireworks will follow the drop.
Yuma’s Iceberg Lettuce Drop
A relatively new tradition in the southern Arizona city of Yuma has also been called one of the country’s most unique.
For the last two years, Yuma has dropped an illuminated eight-foot head of iceberg lettuce in its historic downtown, a nod to the city’s agricultural roots. From November through March, 90% of all leafy vegetables grown in the United States come from Yuma County, making it the Winter Lettuce Capital of the World, according to Yuma County Chamber of Commerce.
In 2019, USA Today shouted out the city’s lettuce drop as one of the top five “most surprising drops” in the country.
Unfortunately, the lettuce drop has been canceled this year, according to Visit Yuma.
The hope that we will one day see the Yuma lettuce head fly again is just one more reason to look forward to 2021.
What’s the weirdest object you’ve seen dropped from great heights on New Year’s Eve? Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.