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What drops on New Year's Eve? Not just Times Square ball

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/27/2016
FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, file photo, provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, female impersonator Gary Marion, known as Sushi, hangs in a giant replica of a woman's high heel shoe in Key West, Fla. Beginning at about 11:59 p.m. Thursday, the shoe with Sushi in it is to be lowered to Duval Street to mark the beginning of 2016. The Big Red Shoe Drop is one of several of the subtropical island city's takeoffs on New York City's Times Square ball drop. (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, file photo, provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, female impersonator Gary Marion, known as Sushi, hangs in a giant replica of a woman's high heel shoe in Key West, Fla. Beginning at about 11:59 p.m. Thursday, the shoe with Sushi in it is to be lowered to Duval Street to mark the beginning of 2016. The Big Red Shoe Drop is one of several of the subtropical island city's takeoffs on New York City's Times Square ball drop. (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — That glittering ball in Times Square may be the best-known object dropping on New Year's Eve, but it's by no means the weirdest.

FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, file photo, children gather around a large Peep after it was dropped during a New Year's Eve celebration, at the Levitt Pavillion on the Steelstacks Campus in Bethlehem, Pa. It’s one of a number of ceremonies in which various objects are dropped around the country to welcome in the new year. (Matt Smith/The Express-Times via AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, file photo, children gather around a large Peep after it was dropped during a New Year's Eve celebration, at the Levitt Pavillion on the Steelstacks Campus in Bethlehem, Pa. It’s one of a number of ceremonies in which various objects are dropped around the country to welcome in the new year. (Matt Smith/The Express-Times via AP, File)

There's stiff competition in that category: Everything from a fish to a shoe to a giant candy Peep will descend on Saturday to welcome in 2017.

The New Year's Eve ball rests at the top of a building overlooking Times Square, in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. The dropping of the ball has been a tradition in Times Square since 1907. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press The New Year's Eve ball rests at the top of a building overlooking Times Square, in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. The dropping of the ball has been a tradition in Times Square since 1907. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The tiny lakeside town of Port Clinton, Ohio, will celebrate the new year by dropping a 20-foot-long, 600-pound replica of a walleye fish. The annual Idaho potato drop in Boise will feature a massive lit-up "glowtato" to celebrate one of the state's most famous products. In Lake Tahoe, Nevada, a brightly lit gondola is dropped at the Heavenly Mountain ski resort.

This undated photo provided by Lake Erie Shores & Islands shows the tiny lakeside town of Port Clinton, Ohio, celebrating its annual walleye fish drop at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s one of a number of objects dropped around the country to welcome in the new year, from a giant shoe in Key West, Fla., to the famous ball in Times Square. (Lake Erie Shores & Islands via AP) © The Associated Press This undated photo provided by Lake Erie Shores & Islands shows the tiny lakeside town of Port Clinton, Ohio, celebrating its annual walleye fish drop at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It’s one of a number of objects dropped around the country to welcome in the new year, from a giant shoe in Key West, Fla., to the famous ball in Times Square. (Lake Erie Shores & Islands via AP)

In Key West, Florida, four different things — including two humans — are lowered to welcome the new year. A giant conch shell is dropped at Sloppy Joe's Bar, a costumed "pirate wench" is lowered outside the Schooner Wharf Bar, a wedge of Key lime descends into a huge margarita glass at the Ocean Key House Resort, and of course in what is probably Key West's most famous New Year's Eve tradition, a large red high-heeled shoe carrying female impersonator Gary "Sushi" Marion is lowered outside the Bourbon Street Pub complex on Duval Street.

Members of the media looks on as workmen put the last few crystals on to a panel of the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square, in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. The dropping of the ball has been a tradition in Times Square since 1907. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) © The Associated Press Members of the media looks on as workmen put the last few crystals on to a panel of the New Year's Eve ball in Times Square, in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. The dropping of the ball has been a tradition in Times Square since 1907. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, hosts a two-day family-friendly Peeps festival that includes the dropping of a 200-pound lit-up Peeps chick. Peeps manufacturer Just Born began operating in Bethlehem in the 1930s.

In Memphis, Tennessee, a lit-up guitar is dropped at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street. Raleigh, North Carolina, which calls itself the city of oaks, drops a giant acorn to welcome the new year. Atlanta hosts a peach drop, and New Orleans drops a fleur-de-lis.

The tradition of dropping a ball to mark a moment dates back to the 19th century, but it didn't originate as a New Year's Eve custom. "Time balls" were once displayed in harbors and lowered daily to signal a certain time of day so that ships could precisely set the chronometers they used for navigation. The New Year's Eve tradition began in 1907 when a time ball was dropped as part of a public celebration hosted by The New York Times at its building in Times Square.

The Times Square ball has been redesigned a number of times over the decades. It was originally made of iron, wood and 25-watt lightbulbs. The ball that will drop Saturday night in the moments leading up to midnight is made from Waterford crystal triangles, illuminated by thousands of LED lights.

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