NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Find watching the ball dropping in Times Square a bit dull? Then try taking part in some of the other drops going on around the United States on New Year's Eve with crabs, pirates and cheeses all set to fall.
Website TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com) has come up with a list of America's top 10 quirkiest New Year's Eve drops on advice of its editors and travelers. This list is not endorsed by Reuters.
"While New York City's famous ball drop in Times Square is a spectacular sight, there are other uniquely wonderful ways Americans can ring in the New Year," said TripAdvisor spokeswoman Michele Perry. "While they range from clever to wacky, it's clear that New Year's Eve is about celebrating traditions and enjoying the company of a crowd."
1. Key West, Florida - Conch, drag queen and pirate
Choose to watch a conch, drag queen, or pirate wench descend at midnight. Duval Street hosts two celebrations, including the 16th annual conch shell drop from the roof of Sloppy Joe's Bar and the lowering of local legend Drag Queen Sushi in her glittering six-foot tall, red, high-heeled shoe. Along the harbor, the Schooner Wharf Bar lowers a costumed "pirate wench."
2. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - marshmallow "peep"
Although Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is widely recognized for its Christmas attractions, its New Year's Eve Peep drop has been a sweet tradition for three years running. A 25-pound fiberglass illuminated Peep, an animal shaped marshmallow, is dropped from a crane at midnight with entertainment.
3. Port Clinton, Ohio- fish
Now in its 14th year, the self-proclaimed "Walleye Capital of the World" drops a 20-foot, 600-pound fiberglass walleye fish named Wylie from the sky at midnight.
4. Mount Olive, North Carolina- pickles
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Mount Olive's pickle drop, where a three-foot tall, glowing pickle makes a 45-foot plunge down the Mount Olive Pickle Company's flagpole into a redwood pickle tank.
5. Elmore, Ohio - sausages
Inspired by the town's longest running business, Tank's Meats, Elmore's locals drop a brilliantly lit, 18-foot sausage from the sky to welcome in the New Year. The celebration also includes zany events like a raw sausage toss, the sausage eating contest and a "dress your dog" contest for children.
6. Lebanon, Pennsylvania- bologna
Weighing in at 120 pounds, Lebanon's seven-and-a-half-foot edible bologna has been the star of this town's New Year's Eve celebration for more than seven years. This free annual celebration lists the help of a city fire department ladder truck to lower the super-sized bologna at midnight.
7. New Orleans, Louisiana - gumbo pot
Following Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans added a new tradition to their annual New Year's Eve celebration by dropping a paper mache gumbo pot at midnight. At midnight, fireworks go off along the Mississippi River, accompanying the majestic gumbo pot drop.
8. Easton, Maryland- crab
For the past five years, First Night Talbot in Easton, Maryland has been ringing in the new year with a giant crab drop. Around 1,500 people come out to see the monstrous replica of a steamed red crab descend.
9. Plymouth, Wisconsin - cheese
In a town known for producing high quality cheese, it's no surprise that Plymouth, Wisconsin rings in the new year by dropping a big hunk of their beloved dairy product at midnight. Sadly, the cheese is not edible, but it's an impressive sight.
10. Raleigh, North Carolina- acorn
The town borrows a 1,250 pound copper acorn from the city's Moore Square to star in the New Year' countdown. Known as the "City of Oaks," Raleigh has been dropping this massive acorn for the past 18 years at 7:30 p.m. and again at midnight.
(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)