NYC Has its Crystal Ball, But Other Cities Drop Branded Products

From Crayola to Peeps, Many Americans will Celebrate 2012 With Hometown Brands

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Most of America associates New Year's Eve with tuning in to see the famous Waterford Crystal ball drop in Times Square. But more and more folks are opting to ring in the new year in more unusual ways, and marketers are joining the revelry by dropping enlarged versions of their products and holding parties in their hometowns.

The Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc. in Mount Olive, N.C., will hold the 13th annual New Year's Eve Pickle Drop on Saturday , where a lighted three-foot long pickle drops down the company's 45-foot flagpole and into a pickle tank. The event features live music, prizes and refreshments, including, lots of free Mt. Olive pickles. For the first time the whole thing is being broadcast live via UStream.

Hard Rock Cafe has gotten in on the action, with its Niagara Falls location hosting the drop of a giant Gibson Guitar decorated by local artists. In Alabama, the town of Mobile is expecting 100,000 or more viewers as it drops a 600-pound MoonPie from the top of the RSA BankTrust building in town. The marshmallow treat is baked by the Chattanooga Bakery in Tennessee.

If there's one state that 's become the home-state for branded drops on New Year's Eve, that would be Pennsylvania.

Peeps aren't just for Easter anymore, as Bethlehem, Pa. has made a tradition of dropping an 85-pound, four-and-a-half-foot-tall lit-up Peeps chick every year. The city partners with Just Born Inc., a privately owned company that is the parent of Peeps, and a number of classic candy brands -- including Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews -- for the drop and a fireworks show to ring in the new year.

As of last year, Easton, Pa. -- home to the Crayola factory -- began a Crayola drop where a giant version of the classic drawing tool is dropped from a crane. The event takes place at 8 p.m. so that kids can enjoy the show and be home in bed at a reasonable hour. In Hershey, Pa. a giant Hershey's Kiss is hoisted to the top of a building, while over in Lebanon, Pa. it will be the 15th year that that an actual 12-foot-long, 225-pound bologna made by Kutztown Bologna/Daniel Weaver Co. is dropped. After the festivities it is donated to charity.

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