Topics » Nation   Dec. 30, 2013

New Year's Eve traditions take local twists with unique ball drops

The Sardine Drop

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The Sardine Drop

Once a hub for the sardine industry, the most eastern city in the U.S. pays tribute to its past. The last sardine factory closed in 1982, but residents gather at the Tides Institute in downtown Eastport, Maine, to drop a sardine at midnight.

The tradition began in 2002 as a way to re-energize a downtown that had seen better days. Unlike some cities’ glitzy fanfare, Eastport has deliberately kept their celebrations low-budget. A volunteer brass band joins up just for the occasion.

Eastport also drops a maple leaf at 11 p.m. in honor of their close Canadian neighbors, whose New Year comes one hour earlier.

Ever wonder why we drop the ball -- or other objects -- to welcome the New Year? Read about the history behind this wholly American tradition

Photo Essay

Photo Essay