The bologna that will be dropped on New Year’s Eve in Lebanon this year may not be as big as in years past, but event organizers hope it will be the beginning of a new tradition.
The bologna drop has gone through changes over the years, from dropping a 12-foot, 200 pound, custom-made Godshall’s Quality Meats bologna to a cage full of regular-sized bologna. Last year, organizers dropped a papier‐mâché sculpture of the Bologna Ranger mascot holding a package of bologna.
This year, just one package of a 10 to 12-pound bologna will drop, attached to a custom-made disco ball produced by E&E Metal Fabrication.
Organizer Lora Lebo said she didn’t want to see such a special tradition go away.
“I’m a big fan of tradition,” Lebo said. “I believe that traditions are what hold society together in general and when we start to allow traditions to deteriorate, we fall apart.”
The bologna drop has been going on for over 20 years, and the oddity of it has made Lebanon stand out even in Pennsylvania, where other towns drop things like a mushroom (Kennett Square) a marshmallow Peep (Bethlehem) and a pickle (Dillsburg).
The Community of Lebanon Association used to run the event, Lebo said, before it was taken over by the Downtown BID a few years ago. This year Downtown Lebanon – A Main Street Community is putting on the event.
Lebo said the disco ball, which features a cut-out of Lebanon County on its sides, will be reused in the future.
“My goal is to make this event easy to do and sustainable, so that it won’t go away, so it is a hallmark of Lebanon County,” Lebo said.
E&E Metal Fabrication president Liane Erb said they will be able to change the year at the bottom of the disco ball in the future. The contraption weighs about 35 pounds, Erb said.
Erb’s father, Willie Erb, designed the ball so it will shine with LED lights. Having a hand in Lebanon’s New Year’s Eve tradition was exciting for their family, Liane Erb said.
“We love it,” Erb said. “Our biggest thing is about our community.”
Although the actual bologna will not be that large, Joe Ramos of Godshall’s Quality Meats said they still plan to donate 200 pounds of meat to local charities.
Where: S. 8th Street, between Cumberland and Chestnut streets
When: There will be a “mini-drop” at 7 p.m. for kids, Lebo said. The main drop will be, well, at midnight.
What else: Local musician DJ Rich will be providing entertainment starting at 10 p.m., and the Red-Headed League on the third floor of the farmer’s market will be having a watch party. Scott Church will be having an open house with live music, Lebo said.
The Bologna Ranger mascot will be there, and the Salvation Army will be providing hot drinks.
Parking: The 9th Street parking lot will be open, Lebo said. The 8th and Walton streets parking lot will be closed.
Street closures: 8th Street between Cumberland and Chestnut streets and Walton Street between Gannon and Liberty streets will be closed beginning at noon on December 31.
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