KENNNETT SQUARE >> For those in the area who like excitement on New Year’s Eve, Kennett Square is the place to be.
The fourth-annual Mushroom Drop featuring a 500-pound stainless-steel, LED mushroom will take place at State and Union streets. And this year, there will be even more to do.
“I think there’s a lot of hub-bub about this one,” said Kathi Lafferty, event organizer.
Though the event costs about $30,000 to stage, there are no charges to those who attend. Lafferty said all funds go to pay for security, police, insurance and public works employees. The event is possible because of sponsorship by the Mushroom Farmers of Pennsylvania, ToJo Mushrooms, Phillips Mushrooms, Bascian Mushroom Farm, and Manfredi Logistics Service, among others. Admission is free, but organizers request a canned, non-perishable food item which will be donated to the Kennett Food Cupboard.
Back this year is the laser show. Entertainment around The big Mushroom includes dance troupes, singers, and other entertainers. At The Garage Youth Center on Union Street, Characters with Character will entertain the kids from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with music, balloon sculptures and caricatures. At 8 p.m., the giant Mushroom will begin to be hoisted.
“The Funsters” take the Main Stage starting at 9 p.m. and there will be plenty of singing and dancing while they are on the stage. A popular tradition is the crowd sings “Sweet Caroline” just before the midnight countdown.
The Mushroom Drop Party at The Garage is new this year. Gather your friends and family and plan on partying the evening away just feet away from the Mushroom Drop and the main music stage. The Mushroom Drop Party features a heated space with food and beverages available for purchase by Kennett Brewing Company. The $10 cover charge includes access to The Garage all evening, and New Year’s Eve hats and noisemakers.
There will be food vendors on State Street. Fresh mushroom soup will be available at the Mushroom Cap, and one vendor will be selling hot cider and strudel. Hot coffee and hot chocolate will also be offered. M n M BBQ and Kaboburritos will also have stands.
Parking is available at the Exelon parking lot and Kennett High School. Free shuttle buses will bring guests from these parking lots to Broad and State Street and return guests from this location to their cars after the Mushroom Drop.
The Mushroom Drop isn’t the only unique ceremony ushering in the New Year across Pennsylvania. Here’s a sampling of some of the others:
Recycled Ball – Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
Pittsburgh ushers in the New Year with a ball raise minutes before midnight, followed by a fireworks show. The “Future of Pittsburgh” ball is a 1,000-pound, illuminated orb made entirely of recycled materials, symbolizing Pittsburgh’s continuous efforts to be a “green” city. A kickoff celebration for the New Year’s festivities begins at 6 p.m., followed by the Highmark First Night Parade at 8 p.m., accompanied by ongoing comedic, musical, and theatrical performances throughout the evening.
Button – Carlisle, Cumberland County
Carlisle celebrates New Year’s Eve by encouraging visitors and residents to design a button that will be dropped at the annual First Night Carlisle event. The final result is a 50-pound, aluminum-framed button that is accented with LED lights. Over 140 children entered the 2016 Button Contest, and the winning theme was “No Place Like Home.” Beginning at 5 p.m., the First Night Carlisle celebration will include live music performances and art exhibits, and it will close with a fireworks display.
Wrench – Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County
The town of Mechanicsburg celebrates the New Year from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with the annual dropping of a wrench on Main Street. The tradition commemorates the borough’s founders — mechanics who settled in the area to make and repair wagons in the early 19th century.
Strawberry – Harrisburg, Dauphin County
The New Year’s Eve celebration in Harrisburg hosts a crowd of thousands in the state’s capital. At 60 seconds before midnight, a giant, lit strawberry starts its descent from the top of the downtown Hilton Harrisburg to ring in the New Year. The evening includes live entertainment, dancing, children’s arts and crafts, and fireworks.
Hershey’s Kiss – Hershey, Dauphin County
Begin the New Year at the “Sweetest Place on Earth!®” The Hershey’s Kiss Raise is ranked second by USA Today Travel for great places for a family-friendly New Year’s Eve. This well-known chocolate town pulls out all the stops for its New Year’s Eve in Hershey event. At 11:59 p.m., a Hershey’s Kiss is raised, and a midnight fireworks display completes a family-friendly night in downtown Hershey.
Red Rose – Lancaster, Lancaster County
Lancaster starts the New Year when its signature red rose ascends at Binns Park. Symbolic of the War of Roses between Lancaster and York, the red rose celebration starts early and lasts through the evening. With more than 20 indoor performances, Countdown Lancaster is a family-oriented event filled with visual and performing entertainment, ending in a midnight fireworks display.
Bologna – Lebanon, Lebanon County
It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve in central Pennsylvania without a famous Pennsylvania Dutch treat descending from the sky. Join the excitement in Lebanon as crowds count down the seconds with the famous 16-foot Lebanon Bologna coming to a stop at the stroke of midnight. Start off the year by being amazed, amused, and maybe even hungry.
Marshmallow Peep – Bethlehem, Northampton County
For a truly one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve celebration, First Night Bethlehem “peeps” with pride. Start the evening by experiencing the celebration spanning downtown and offering artistic and cultural entertainment for young and old, sponsored by the non-profit ArtsQuest. Enjoy a wide variety of music and art before watching the signature Marshmallow Peep® travel down toward the crowd, ringing in the New Year as only Bethlehem can.
Sled – Duncannon – Perry County
Duncannon Borough brings in the New Year with its annual Sled Drop at midnight, during a fireworks display. The 10-foot sled used is a model of the famous Lightning Guider sled manufactured at the Standard Sled Factory in Duncannon from 1904 until 1990. Festivities are held from 10 p.m. to midnight.
Yuengling Beer Bottle – Pottsville, Schuylkill County
New Year’s Eve in Pottsville is marked by the raising of the Yuengling beer bottle to the top of the flagpole at Garfield Square. Ring in the New Year with a toast to the oldest brewery in America.
Beaver – Beavertown, Snyder County
Watch Bucky the Beaver descend from the sky this New Year in Beavertown in the Susquehanna River Valley. This life-size beaver got his name from a community contest that was held before the event’s second year. He is held in the air by a 75-foot ladder and slowly lowered to the ground, landing at midnight.
Kettle – McClure, Snyder County
The fourth McClure Kettle Drop New Year’s Eve Celebration at the McClure Fire Hall is sure to be an entertaining community event for the whole family. Ring in the New Year with food, dancing, and activities for the kids, and watch the lowering of the cast-iron kettle at midnight in honor of the historic McClure Bean Soup Festival and Fair Celebration.
Pickle – Dillsburg, York County
Although Dillsburg has nothing to do with pickles, the town sure does know how to have fun with its name. Get into a real “pickle” as Dillsburg celebrates its annual Pickle Drop at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Once the dill has descended into the barrel, the party continues with a fireworks display lasting until 12:30 a.m.
White Rose – York, York County
Attendees of York’s New Year’s Eve celebration are sure to have a blast bringing in 2017. Enjoy a children’s countdown to the balloon drop from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., with complimentary hats and noisemakers, perfect for the youngsters. Join the crowd in smelling roses all the way until midnight as a white rose descends from the sky in Continental Square, symbolic of the War of Roses between Lancaster and York.