LEWISTOWN - Whether it be an oversized bag of Hartley's Potato Chips, a giant beaver, a sprint car or a kettle falling from the sky - one thing is for sure, the people of the Juniata Valley know how to ring in the New Year.
Six years ago a couple of reporters from The Sentinel newsroom came up with the idea of having a New Year's Eve celebration in Lewistown, and so the Great Chip Drop was born. Since that time, the event has continued to grow attracting visitors from throughout central Pennsylvania and beyond.
Executive Director of Community Partnerships RC&D and one of the masterminds behind the creation of the Great Chip Drop, Sam Price said the theme for this year's celebration is "make 2013 better for those in need."
Price said this year in working with the theme, they decided to partner with Mifflin Juniata Human Services, the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata and Communities that Care to hold a food pantry drive during the New Year's Eve festivities.
"We wanted to take the Chip Drop a step further and give back to the community," Price said.
There will be a table for people to drop off their food donations at Monument Square until midnight.
New Year's Eve events
- The Great Chip Drop - 7 p.m.-midnight, Monument Square, Lewistown
Food Pantry donation drop off, G-Man Entertainment, Toodles the Clown, Gallery 3West artwork, R.B. Powell Presents Acoustic Music Revue, Conestoga Wagon Rides, Prayer Request and Resolution table. Fireworks at midnight.
Food/Household Pantry items needed:
Spaghetti sauce and noodles
Canned fruit or vegetables
- Sprint car Drop - 10 p.m.-midnight, Milford Street, Port Royal
Port Royal Lutheran Church food stand. Music provided by a DJ.
- Beaver Drop - 10 p.m.-midnight, Sassafras Street, Beavertown
Free hot dogs, chips and drinks. Other food for sale. Music provided by a DJ. Bonfire and fireworks.
- Inaugural Kettle Drop - 9:30 p.m.-midnight, McClure Fire Hall
Free admission. Food, raffle and bake sale. Civil War cannon will be set off at midnight.
There will be all kinds of entertainment throughout the night, including Toodles the Clown who brings assorted "fun and zaniness."
Price said don't be surprised if you see small bags of Hartley's potato chips flying through the sky periodically throughout the night
"G-Man's always in the square throwing a party," Price said.
The McCoy house will be open for tours, which is decorated every year with a new theme by the Mifflin County Garden Club.
Price said the Chip Drop is always a family friendly non-alcoholic event for anyone who wants to come, both near and far.
Several local businesses/restaurants will be open late on New Year's Eve, along with several defrost stations for revelers to warm-up.
"We couldn't do it with out Hartley's and City Hook and Ladder and all our generous sponsors," Price said.
"Our staff here also puts in a lot of time," he added.
Price said Lewistown Borough and the Mifflin County Commissioners have always been very supportive as well.
Elsewhere in the Juniata Valley, Port Royal will continue the tradition of dropping a sprint car on the night of Dec. 31.
Barney Gray, who has helped put the event together since the first Sprint Car Drop, which rang in 2009, said people can come by anytime along Milford Street where the event is held. The family friendly non-alcoholic event is free and open to the public.
From around 10 p.m. on there will be a disc jockey playing music and the Port Royal Lutheran Church will have a food stand open.
"Be there at midnight, you don't want to miss it ... I don't know how many more these I got left in me," Gray said.
Those in Beavertown will also be celebrating the new year, with the Fifth Annual Beaver Drop, which takes place on Sassafras Street.
Festivities will include free hot dogs, chips and drinks. There will also be ham and bean soup for sale.
New activities this year include music and dancing provided by D.J. Brian Barto in the truck room and a bonfire outside. Fireworks will follow the drop of "Bucky the Beaver" at midnight. The family friendly non-alcoholic event is free and open to the public.
Down the road in McClure, the McClure Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee is helping to sponsor the first McClure Kettle Drop on New Year's Eve.
Festivities for the non-alcoholic, family friendly event kick off at 10 p.m. at the McClure Fire Hall. There will be food a 50/50 raffle for prizes and a bake sale. There will also be a Civil War cannon set off at midnight.