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12/31/2013 The End Is Here

File:New Year Ball Drop Event for 2012 at Times Square.jpg

In the United States, New Year's Eve is celebrated with formal parties, family-oriented activities, and other large public events.

One of the most prominent celebrations in the country is the "ball drop" held in New York City's Times Square. Inspired by the time balls that were formally used as a time signal, at 11:59 p.m. ET, an 11,875-pound (5,386 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) diameter Waterford crystal ball located on the roof of One Times Square is lowered down a pole that is 70 feet high, reaching the roof of the building one minute later to signal the start of the New Year. The Ball Drop has been held since 1907, and in recent years has averaged around a million spectators annually. The popularity of the spectacle also inspired similar "drop" events outside of New York City, which often use objects that represent a region's culture, geography, or history—such as Atlanta's "Peach Drop", representing Georgia's identity as the "Peach State".[10]

The portrayal of festivities on radio and television has helped ingrain certain aspects of the celebration in American pop culture; beginning on the radio in 1928, and on CBS television from 1956 to 1976 (which also included coverage of the ball drop), Guy Lombardo and his band, The Royal Canadians, presented an annual New Year's Eve broadcast from the ballroom of New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The broadcasts were also well known for the Royal Canadians' signature performance of "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight, which helped popularize the song as a New Year's standard.[11][12] After Lombardo's death in 1977, prominence shifted towards ABC's special Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (which had recently moved from NBC), originally intended by its creator and host Dick Clark to be a modern and youthful alternative to Lombardo'sbig band music. Including ABC's special coverage of the year 2000, Clark would host New Year's Eve coverage on ABC for thirty-three straight years. After suffering a stroke, Clark ceded hosting duties in 2005 to talk show host Regis Philbin. Although Clark returned the following year, a speech impediment caused by the stroke prevented him from being the main host until his death in April 2012, Clark made limited appearances on the show as a co-host, but was formally succeeded by Ryan Seacrest.[13][14][15][16][17]

New Year's Eve is traditionally the busiest day of the year at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, where the parks stay open late and the usual nightly fireworks are supplemented by an additional New Year's Eve-specific show at midnight.



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