RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s capital city is ready for its annual acorn drop to usher in the New Year after a city crew had its own accidental acorn drop about 10 days early.
Artist David Benson designed the acorn for Raleigh in 1991. He has been rushing to repair it since a city crew dropped it a few days before Christmas while taking it for a cleaning.
Benson says it took about 60 hours to repair the giant acorn for the First Night Raleigh celebration.
“Put some new panels on it. Did some other stuff — cleaned it up, straightened it out. It was flat on one side. I’ve been on a crunch the last two weeks,” Benson told WTVD-TV .
The acorn is ready to drop twice — first at 7 p.m. New Year’s Eve for a children’s celebration and again at the stroke of midnight to ring in 2018.
The acorn has been dropping since 1992 in Raleigh as a nod to the city’s nickname as The City of Oaks.
The giant acorn isn’t the only oddity heading down a pole in North Carolina as 2017 turns to 2018.
In Mount Olive, home to the giant factory that makes the pickles named for the town, a 3-foot glowing pickle will slide down a flagpole at 7 p.m. Sunday as part of New Year’s festivities.
Organizers of the pickle drop point out 7 p.m. in Mount Olive is midnight Greenwich Mean Time in the United Kingdom, which is traditionally the time that sets the standard for other time zones.
The organizers said the family friendly time also let everyone go home and get to bed before midnight on the East Coast.
Also, in Brasstown, Clay Logan’s website said he will again slowly drop a possum in a box to mark the New Year at the site of his now closed convenience store in the North Carolina mountains.
Logan fought with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about the drop over several New Year’s Eves. But he was able to obtain permits and continue his tradition.
“Note: The opossum is not actually ‘dropped”,’ it is lowered with great care,” reads a note on Logan’s website. “We treat our little friend with respect, hold him in awe, and do not inflict any injury or traumatize God’s creature of the night.”