Lightship Overfalls anchors a new year

Third annual event highlights Lewes' maritime traditions
Villana Reed of Houston welcomes in the New Year during the Lightship Overfalls anchor drop. BY RON MACARTHUR
January 3, 2014

About 200 people braved the chilly air the last night of 2013 to witness what is probably the only lighted anchor drop in the United States. Rigged from the mast of the historic Lightship Overfalls in Lewes' Canalfront Park, the anchor dropped at the stroke of midnight to welcome in 2014.

Prior to the anchor drop, people warmed themselves around three small bonfires, danced to music blaring out from the ship and sipped hot chocolate provided by Overfalls Foundation volunteers.

Foundation President Tracy Mulveny provided the countdown as members Bill and Joan Reader lowered the anchor. When the anchor hit the deck, a large blast from the ship's horn officially marked the start of another year.

The foundation started the anchor drop three years ago to highlight the ship's listing as a National Historic Landmark.

While the ball drop in New York City grabs most of the spotlight on New Year's Eve, there are hundreds – it not thousands – of other items that take the plunge to usher in a new year. Among the most unique include: A lighted pickle in Mt. Olive, N.C.; a large watermelon filled with watermelons in Vincennes, Ind.; a Moonpie in Mobile, Ala.; a pinecone in Flagstaff, Ariz.; and a sardine in Eastport, Maine.

Locally, residents in Easton, Md., drop a red crab and residents in Princess Anne, Md., drop a stuffed muskrat.

Pennsylvania has the most New Year's Eve dropping events. Dozens of towns and cities drop an assortment of things including a beaver, lump of coal, sled, mushroom, Hershey Kiss and pretzel.

Built in Maine in 1938, the Lightship Overfalls is one of only 17 lightships remaining and one of seven restored ships open to the public.