Mapped: The 207 Objects Dropped on New Year’s Eve

With December comes a whole host of holidays: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. Yet, none of these celebrations bring quite the same frenzy, as that which takes place on the night of December 31st.

New Year’s Eve has many traditions to mark the beginning of a year: staying up until midnight, a countdown kiss, champagne, and those loud party horns… But what draws the most attention in the United States seems to be things that are dropped. Of course, the most popular of these is the large crystal ball in New York City’s Times Square.

But New York isn’t the only state with New Year’s ball drops—and many places drop objects other than balls, though those are certainly the most popular type, as the map below shows.

View New Year’s Eve Objects Dropped in a full screen map

Five States with the Most New Year’s Eve Drops

New York’s 12-foot, 32,000+ light Times Square Ball Drop may be the most recognizable of these events, but the Empire State organizes more than that on NYE. Many are smaller ball drops, but there’s also a giant ukulele, a ten-foot Gibson Guitar, and a tree made out of kegs. Even so, it’s not even the state with the most objects dropped.

  • Pennsylvania – 59 objects dropped on NYE
  • New York – 15
  • Florida – 13
  • North Carolina – 11
  • Georgia – 11

Pennsylvania loves New Year’s Eve. Notably, two different cities in the Coal State (Shamokin and Wilkes-Barre) drop a chunk of coal that turns into a diamond at the bottom.

Then there are the PA cities with object drops that represent a homegrown product, such as the giant M&M or dove chocolate bar that’s dropped in Elizabethtown, where both are manufactured. Additionally, a tablet of Bayer aspirin has been dropped in Myerstown, where Bayer operates a manufacturing plant.

Moreover, Pennsylvania is home to a few historical object drops, including a Civil War-era bowling-ball-sized cannonball in Cornwall and Allentown’s liberty bell from the American Revolution.

For New York, Florida, and the rest of the U.S.’s ball drops, click around on the map above, because we’re moving on to the types of objects dropped.

Balls, Bologna, and Cheese Wedges: Types of NYE Objects Dropped

With 207 objects on the map, there are many more types other than the N.Y.C. Times Square Ball Drop on December 31st. So let’s take a look at some other common types of objects dropped.

Item type Count
Ball 66
Food 43
Other 34
Animal 24
Transportation 11
Alcohol or nicotine 9
Shape 8
Clothing 7
Rock or mineral 5
Grand Total 207

Balls notwithstanding, food-related objects are most popularly dropped on New Year’s Eve (though there are two popcorn balls we categorized as food). Potatoes are a hot commodity. In the capital of Idaho, which is known for its potatoes, Boise residents have let a giant potato loose from various buildings downtown since 2014. One year, organizers even crowdfunded a new “Glowtato” with internal lighting. Elsewhere, there are also french fries and potato chip drops.

Many more of the edible objects dropped each NYE can be considered junk food: donuts, pretzels, an ice cream cake—and even a 100-pound stick of Lebanon bologna—which is later distributed to a local food bank and animal shelter following its drop in its Pennsylvania namesake.

Rivaling that comically large bologna is an 80-pound decorated cheese wedge in Plymouth, Wisconsin in a tribute to the region’s dairy industry, a 600-pound lit Moon Pie in Mobile, Alabama, and a very tall Pierogi.

And that’s not to mention the food subtypes: fruits, like the 200-pound tangerine that Brooksville, Floridians used to drop as an emblem of the citrus industry, and even the occasional candy, including a 100-pound yellow illuminated Peep in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where the producer is based.

For more of America’s delightful—If not a little strange—quirks, check out the World’s Largest Map of the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions.

Or, make it your New Year’s resolution to get more insights into your data with BatchGeo.