3 Of the United States’ Most Unique New Year’s Eve Celebrations Happen in Idaho
In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, home of the company responsible for gifting us Easter Peeps every year, they actually drop a 400 pound replica of the marshmallow candy. Panama Beach, Florida rings in the New Year by dropping a beach ball. Las Cruces, New Mexico does it with a chili pepper.
Of course, Idaho's most well known for dropping the stereotypical, but beloved, potato. It's been the uniquely Idaho way to welcome a new year since December 31, 2013. While the "glowtato" routinely finds itself on the list of "weird New Year's Eve drops" happening across the United States it's (at least in our opinion) not the most creative in Idaho. Keep reading to learn more about the Potato Drop and what we can only dub "its cousins" in Emmett and Rupert.
2013: The Idaho Potato Drops for the First Time
When Boise saw the original concept sketches for the first "Idaho Potato Drop" it was hard to picture exactly what dropping a potato off the side of what, at the time, was Idaho's tallest building, would look like. The inaugural Potato Drop happened alongside the U.S. Bank Building
It Happened With a Little Help from a Crane
The organizers didn't modify or create way to mount the potato to the building. The potato was lowered via a crane.
Everyone Was Talking About It
By the day after New Year's Day, news that Boise, Idaho had actually dropped a potato as its new way to welcome in the New Year spread across the internet like a wild fire. The Idaho Potato Drop was an instant viral sensation.
Potato On the Move
In 2015, the Idaho Potato Drop moved from the U.S. Bank building to the Idaho State Capitol building. It seemed fitting that if you're having a celebration in a state's capital city, that one if its signature events takes place there, right?
The Potato Gets an Upgrade in 2016
In year four, the Idaho Potato Drop swapped its old potato for a shiny new "glowtato." The new potato is illuminated from the inside. This was also the first year that the potato was dropped horizontally.
Potato Goes Undercover in 2020
Thanks in part to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Idaho Potato Drop relocated to the Ford Idaho Center for a made for television celebration. In true 2020 fashion, not everything went to according to plan. The 2020 sign just wouldn't fall over after the Potato dropped. It will return to its rightful place at the state capitol building in 2021. You can find all the details HERE.
Meanwhile in Emmett
Emmett started its own New Year's Eve tradition in 2015. Rather than drop a potato, they decided to raise a cherry. Fitting, considering that Emmett's been home to the famous "Cherry Festival" for 86 years and counting.
The Story Behind the Cherry
According to a December 2016 profile Channel 2 did on the Emmett Cherry rise, building the giant cherry was a task five to a group of 15 high school students. It featured its own countdown clock.
The Show Must Go On
Unlike the Potato Drop, the Emmett Cherry Rise did still take place publicly on December 31, 2020. The crowd was much smaller than normal and there wasn't the traditional level of pomp and circumstance, but families were still invited to watch the cherry ascend as long as they social distanced and made good decisions.
Ready to Ring in 2022
Emmett will raise the cherry again this year! Before the countdown, Frontier Cinemas will do a free screening of Elf beginning at 10:15. Those who attend get a small bag of confetti to toss at the end of the countdown.
But What About Rupert?
Known as "Christmas City, USA" Rupert decided to create a New Year's Eve tradition in 2019 and quite frankly, we think it's the most creative one in the state. The small town created a 22' tall, 12' wide sugar beet for their celebration.
It's Back for 2022
If you find yourself in this tiny Idaho town for New Year's Eve and want to check it out, you can find the schedule of events HERE. Like the Idaho Potato Drop, the countdown is followed by fireworks.