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New Year’s Eve Celebrations

December 31, 2016

From the Wikipedia website

fireworks

In the United States, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with formal parties, family-oriented activities, and other large public events.

One of the most prominent celebrations in the country is the “ball drop” held in New York City‘s Times Square. Inspired by the time balls that were formally used as a time signal, at 11:59 p.m. ET, an 11,875-pound (5,386 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) diameter Waterford crystal ball located on the roof of One Times Square is lowered down a pole that is 70 feet high, reaching the roof of the building 60 seconds later to signal the start of the New Year. The Ball Drop has been held since 1907, and in recent years has averaged around a million spectators annually. The popularity of the spectacle also inspired similar “drop” events outside of New York City, which often use objects that represent a region’s culture, geography, or history—such as Atlanta‘sPeach Drop“, representing Georgia‘s identity as the “Peach State”. Alongside the festivities in Times Square, New York’s Central Park hosts a “Midnight Run” event organized by the New York Road Runners, which culminates in a fireworks show and a race around the park that begins at midnight.

Radio and television broadcasts from festivities in New York helped to ingrain aspects of them in American pop culture; beginning on the radio in 1928, and on CBS television from 1956 to 1976 with ball drop coverage, Guy Lombardo and his band, The Royal Canadians, presented an annual New Year’s Eve broadcast from the ballroom of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The broadcasts were best known for the Royal Canadians’ signature performance of “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight, which made the standard synonymous with New Year’s in the United States. Following Lombardo’s death in 1977, ABC‘s competing program New Year’s Rockin’ Eve succeeded the Royal Canadians as the dominant New Year’s Eve special on U.S. television. Its creator and host Dick Clark intended the program to be a modern and youthful alternative to Lombardo’s big band music. Including ABC’s special coverage of the year 2000, Clark would host New Year’s Eve coverage on ABC for 33 straight years. After suffering a stroke, Clark ceded hosting duties in 2005 to talk show host Regis Philbin, and retired as full-time host in 2006 in favor of Ryan Seacrest due to a speech impediment caused by the stroke. Clark continued to make appearances from a studio on the program annually until his death in 2012.

Notable celebrations occur in other U.S. cities as well. On the Las Vegas Strip, the streets are closed to vehicle traffic on the evening of New Year’s Eve, and a large fireworks show is held at midnight which spans across multiple resort buildings. Major theme parks may also hold New Year’s celebrations; Disney theme parks, such as Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, are traditionally the busiest during the days up to and including New Year’s Eve. Los Angeles, a city long without a major public New Year celebration, held an inaugural gathering in Downtown‘s newly completed Grand Park to celebrate the beginning of 2014. The event included food trucks, art installations, and light shows, culminating with a projection mapping show on the side of Los Angeles City Hall near midnight. The inaugural event drew over 25,000 spectators and participants. In 2015, Chicago held Chi-Town Rising, the city’s first ever outdoor New Year’s Eve festival on the Magnificent Mile. The event was hosted by Mario Lopez with musical guests American Authors and Chicago. Nearly 100,000 people attended the inaugural event.

Read how New Year’s Eve is celebrated in other countries

From → History

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