The Peeps in Bethlehem don’t fly; they drop from the sky like a giant chick-shaped UFO. The free two-day PeepsFest bids 2012 adieu with s’mores, featuring the avian marshmallow treats as the main ingredient; a scavenger hunt-and-peck for hidden Peeps; and a chicken dance-a-thon in a disco lounge. The family-friendly event culminates on Dec. 31 with the Peeps Chick Drop: At the early-bird hour of 5:15 p.m., a 4.5-foot-tall, 85-pound lighted fowl will return to earth, followed by fireworks that go pop like your belly full of Peeps.
Info: www.artsquest.org/peepsfest, www.discoverlehighvalley.com
Key West, Fla.
Grab your umbrella, because the forecast for Dec. 31 is a rainstorm of wenches, drag queens and conch shells. The Florida party town has a long history of tossing oddball items off rooftops. For example, Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street will hold its 20th annual Dropping of the Conch Shell. As a general rule, throwing sea life is not recommended, so the bar will add confetti and beads to the airborne mix. Also on Duval: Sushi, a female impersonator with no relation to the Japanese specialty, will float down in a six-foot-long red high heel at Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House Complex. And down by the water, a pirate wench will descend the mast of a tall ship at the Schooner Wharf Bar. Once the sky is clear, the party shifts to the land and into the new year. All events are free to watch.
Don’t even try to take a bite of the 350-pound MoonPie that, at the stroke of midnight, will shoot down from a 34-story high-rise. The sweet treat is made of inedible ingredients that have more in common with a lamp than with cookies and marshmallows. However, for the free event, the Chattanooga Bakery, maker of the snack food that’s traditionally thrown during Mobile’s Mardi Gras, is creating the world’s largest MoonPie. In addition, the port town will host a Mardi Gras-style parade with floats and marching bands, honoring its place in history as the first U.S. city to hold Carnival, as well as three live music stages, a laser show and fireworks. Despite the MoonPie’s star power, it will have to share the limelight with the Commodores, who will sing and sway past the Auld Lang Syne hour.
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
At the binational waterfalls, the Canadians party harder than their southern counterparts. The free Niagara Falls New Year’s Eve, in Queen Victoria Park, sets off 2,000 pounds of fireworks from above the falls and below them at the Skylon Tower and in Niagara Gorge. Two countries means two sets of fireworks: at 8:45 p.m. and midnight. For entertainment, rock out Canuck-style with such bands as electro-popsters Dragonette and Vancouver pop punksters Hedley. Grammy winner Nelly “I’m Like a Bird” Furtado will keep the flocks moving and grooving, as the falls provide backup percussion.