Lebanon County is usually rife with New Year’s Eve events that see a wide variety of strange objects dropping from the sky to count down the start of the impending New Year, but 2015 will be going out with fewer of these events.
Annville began its New Year’s Eve tradition last year, but Destination Annville, the group that runs the event, announced on their Facebook page that they will not be holding an event to celebrate the coming of 2016.
“We will not be having the Second Annual New Year’s Eve drop this year,” the Facebook post said. “Without music and a group to run the concession stand we didn’t think standing around a bonfire for three hours would be much fun.”
Likewise, Palmyra announced that it will not be doing its annual Shoe Drop this New Year’s Eve because construction has begun at Fireman’s Park.
“Due to work beginning at Fireman’s Park we will not be having a shoe drop this year,” a post on the Palmyra Area Heritage Association website said.
However, both community groups stated in the same posts that they are planning on bringing these events back to see 2016 out and welcome 2017 in.
Following is a capsule of other events that are being held to welcome in 2016:
The 19th Annual New Year’s Eve Bologna Drop will be kicked off at 10 p.m. on Thursday at the parking lot at Ninth and Cumberland Streets.
DJ Rich is providing the music again this year, and the Salvation Army will be providing hot drinks to partygoers.
The real star of the event, however, is the massive bologna that will be lowered by French’s Crane Service. The giant bologna, which will be processed by Godshall’s Quality Meats’ Weaver Plant, is almost 12 feet long and weighs nearly 250 pounds, and will be donated to the Lebanon Rescue Mission, Agape Shelter and the Salvation Army after the event.
Lebanon Transit will offer free transportation to the Bologna Drop from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., with pickup at the transfer station at Seventh and Willow, Cumberland, Ninth, Mifflin and Hutter’s on Maple, 10th and Seventh streets.
Sponsors of the event are the city of Lebanon, the Community of Lebanon Association, Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster and Godshall's Quality Meats, maker of Kutztown and Weaver's bologna.
The third annual New Year’s Drop in Myerstown will once again feature the giant replica of a Bayer aspirin tablet. The choice of a Bayer aspirin is due to Bayer HealthCare’s plant in Myerstown, which is one of Lebanon County’s largest employers.
The event will begin at 11 p.m. in the parking lot of the borough’s pool, just off South Railroad Street.
Bryan Stevenson and The Hit List are back again this year to take the stage for live music from 11 p.m. to 12:15 a.m.
The large, illuminated Bayer tablet is a round metal structure six feet tall and weighing one hundred pounds. It will be lowered by volunteer firefighters from the Keystone Hook & Ladder tower truck.
Richland Borough will be dropping a huge, replica cigar in remembrance of their cigar factory days of ages past. The cigar will be dropped with equipment donated by local celebrity Lebanon Levi of “Amish Mafia” fame. A DJ will be on hand spinning music from old favorites to modern hits. The event will begin at 11:30 p.m. at the parking lot on Church and Park Streets.
POLAR BEAR PLUNGE
The 26th Annual Polar Bear Plunge will be held on New Year’s Day at Willow Springs Park in Jackson Township. The event is part of the Cold for a Cause Campaign, which raises money for Developmental and Disability Services (DDS) of Lebanon Valley, Inc.
The plunge takes place at noon, but gates open at 10 a.m. for a pre-plunge dance party with DJ Jim Payne. The Turkey Hill Road Crew will be on hand to give away prizes, and there will be games and a photo booth run by Tim McGowan.
Pledge forms for Polar Bears are still available at coldforacause.org and at Turkey Hill stores in Lebanon and western Berks counties.
Because parking at Willow Springs is limited, a $20 donation to park on the grounds is requested. Passes are available in advance and at the gate. Since only a few participants use the shuttle service, DDS is not going to provide the shuttle service this year.
The 11th annual Hershey New Year’s Eve Celebration will feature Disney Channel star Olivia Holt, of “Kickin’ It” and “I Didn’t Do It” fame, as the headline performer, with Central Pennsylvania’s own rock and roll cover band, All Jacked Up on stage for their third year at the event. All Jacked Up will take the stage at 9 p.m. to open for Holt.
Holt, who is the only female cast member on the show, is credited for helping “Kickin’ It” reach the number two spot on the Disney Channel’s Disney XD sister network. She can be heard on the “Girl vs. Monster” soundtrack and on the Disney Holiday Playlist with a cover of “Winter Wonderland.”
All Jacked Up performs a variety of cover songs from classic rock songs by the Rolling Stones to current pop hits by Katy Perry.
Hershey’s New Year’s Eve festivities kick off for the whole family at 11 a.m. at the Hershey Story Museum on Chocolate Avenue where partygoers can participate in celebratory “bubble-wrap stomps.” DJ Mike DeAcosta of Spectra Sound will spin party music from the past five decades between stomps, and Mr. Music will be performing on the patio beginning at 8 p.m.
The First United Methodist Church of Hershey will be serving refreshments and hosting outdoor kid’s games and a free concert by American Celtic Band, Rizzetto’s Tones, beginning at 7 p.m.
The New Year’s Eve celebration will culminate with the raising of the giant Hershey’s Kiss replica and a midnight fireworks display.
All activities are free to the public and weather permitting.