New York City’s Times Square ball drop is legendary.
Crowds flock to the annual New Year’s Eve tradition.
But the same thing will happen tonight at Bluefield’s Lemon Drop New Year’s Eve Celebration.
It’s billed as “West Virginia’s own version of the Times Square ball, but featuring a large, lighted lemon in true Bluefield style.”
The annual event, which premiered in 2014, is the highlight of the countdown to midnight, courtesy of civic organization Beautiful Bluefield.
Street festivities, hot chocolate and good music are part of the popular ritual.
Local artist Gary Bowling is credited with creating the beloved holiday piece.
It is approximately eight feet long, covered with hundreds of yellow lights and is hoisted 85 feet into the air.
The crowd waits eagerly until the lemon makes it descent in the last 10 seconds of the year.
Celebrating a love of lemons is nothing new here.
Bluefield is nationally known as Nature’s Air Conditioned City.
Situated in the mountains, this Mercer County community rarely sees high temperatures even in the summer.
Local officials decided to make lemonade out of this meteorological lemon.
Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce members serve free lemonade whenever the temperature reaches 90 degrees or above.
It’s an annual tradition dating back to 1914.
However, years can go by without that happening.
So it’s a big deal when the summer heat hits, and folks turn out en masse for the popular promotion.
This time-honored lemon tradition has also caught on other ways locally
Banners hang downtown featuring a nice, cool glass of lemonade.
That’s a nice compliment to the annual Lemonade Festival, sponsored by the Bluefield Preservation Society, held in the summer.
And this lemon love isn’t over yet.
Tonight’s free celebration is open to the public, and will be downtown on Commerce Street.