6 Fun New Year's Eve "Ball" Drops That Aren't In Times Square

Find out where you can ring in 2024 the Midwest way—with a falling cherry, cheese wedge or pierogi.

A lighted D drops at midnight on New Year's Eve in Detroit before crowds of spectators

Courtesy of Detroit's Motor City NYE The Drop

Sure you could watch the ol' ball drop in New York on TV on New Year's Eve. Or check out these Midwest towns where something quirkier takes the midnight fall. And check out our list of other big-city bashes with fireworks, boat rides and more.

Walleye Drop, Port Clinton, Ohio

See why this Lake Erie town calls itself the Walleye Capital of the World when Wylie the Walleye, a 20-foot-long, 600-pound fiberglass fish plunges from a crane at midnight. A smaller, kid-friendly Minnow Drop takes place earlier.

Motor City NYE The Drop, Detroit

A 7-foot neon "D" dives 90 feet at midnight at downtown Detroit's Motor City NYE-The Drop. Activities begin at 9 p.m. with live entertainment, firepits, food vendors and more. 

Light cherry drops on New Year's Eve in Traverse City Michigan

Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

CherryT Ball Drop, Traverse City, Michigan

Thousands gather at the corner of Front and Cass streets in the self-proclaimed Cherry Capital of the World. They await the fall of a 600-pound lighted cherry from 100 feet up. North Bar TC offers one of the best views. (The name “CherryT” is a nod to The Festival Foundation, which donates funds raised through the ball drop to local charities.)

Big Cheese Drop, Plymouth, Wisconsin

The professed Cheese Capital of the World drops a 120-pound metal cheese wedge from a 100-foot fire truck ladder as lights flash and sirens sound. The family affair (the drop is at 10 p.m.) includes plenty of real cheese.

Pierogi Drop, Whiting, Indiana

A 10-foot-wide illuminated pierogi falls 60 feet at midnight at the Whiting-Hammond Pierogi Drop, returning for its 8th year in 2023. (Whiting also hosts Pierogi Fest in late July each year for those who would to like eat, toss and generally celebrate pierogies in warmer weather.)

Droppin’ of the Carp, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

The multi-day Carp Fest ends on New Year’s Eve with a carp drop during a family-friendly celebration from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The carp, a symbol of prosperity and good luck, reflects the community’s fishing heritage. The fest once dropped a frozen 30- to 40-pound carp outdoors (and encouraged revelers to kiss it for luck!) but has pivoted now to an inside drop of a 3D fish. 

Fireworks over Lake Michigan Chicago
Chicago's New Year's Eve Fireworks. Getty Images/Monica Ninker

Big-City Bashes

Cincinnati Take a BB Riverboats New Year's Eve cruise from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., or head to Fountain Square for an annual fireworks display that begins at the stroke of midnight.

Omaha Get close to Gene Leahy Mall for the December 31 fireworks, a signature event of the Holiday Lights Festival. Shells explode in time with a music score broadcast on FM radio.

Kansas City, Missouri Act fast to score tickets for NYE at The Temple IX, a sure-to-sell-out party at Scottish Rite Temple. The fete fills four floors and serves unlimited drinks for several hours.

St. Louis  NYE Live! offers an evening of access to the four entertainment venues inside Ballpark Village.  Traditionalists will appreciate the city's only midnight ball drop.

Chicago Navy Pier’s fireworks show will light up the sky at midnight—but how will you view it? Hotels, restaurants, cruises, city parks and more keep the party going as long as you like. 

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