Apple Drop to bring in New Year, honor Martinsburg
Martinsburg, W.Va., is known for its apple orchards.
What better way to ring in the New Year than to gather with community and watch a large apple drop from high above?
These were the thoughts of community organizers including Randy Lewis, executive director of Mainstreet Martinsburg.
“Berkeley County is really known for its apples and apple orchards. There are other towns close by that have different drops, and we thought apples would be a wonderful theme showcasing our community of Martinsburg,” Lewis said.
This will be the third year organizers planned an Apple Drop. The first in 2017 was a “wonderful experience,” Lewis said, with about 750 people attending. The second was cancelled due to freezing rain.
“People in the community told us they really wanted to come out for it. It’s a family event. It’s free. They were really disappointed,” he said.
This year, whatever the weather on Tuesday, Dec. 31, Lewis said, the Mainstreet Martinsburg New Year’s Eve Apple Drop will go on. Activities will begin in Martinsburg’s town square at 4 p.m. and continue until 6:30 with the apple dropping at 6 p.m.
“Orr’s Farm Market makes apple donuts and hot cider. We’ve added some family and kids’ activities,” Lewis said.
There will be a DJ playing music, representatives from Bourne Learning are planning a scavenger hunt, and Healthy Berkeley County will lead activities encouraging physical activity, healthy eating and healthy choices. Families can play cornhole and celebrate with free party hats, silly glasses and party blowers. Food trucks including Jill’s Mobile Kitchen will offer concessions, Latte Da Cupcakery will be on hand with treats, and the Martinsburg Berkeley County Public Libraries will host activities. Downtown restaurants will be open following the event for dinner.
“Think downtown New York City,” Lewis said, in reference to “The Big Apple’s” New Year’s Eve celebration with a ball drop in Times Square along with live entertainment and music. “It’s a sense of community spirit when people come together in one place for something nice.”
While New York drops the ball at midnight, Martinsburg organizers chose to do so at a more family-friendly hour for children and others who might not make it to midnight.
“Some people like to go out for a family event before they go out for other New Year’s Eve parties,” Lewis said.
A number of community entities sponsor the drop, including Apple Valley Chevrolet Toyota, First United Bank and Trust, Orr’s Farm Market and Shepherd University at Martinsburg Center.
For the first Apple Drop, students at Inwood, W.Va. Musselman High School crafted an apple using chicken wire.
“It was wonderful but not quite sturdy enough,” Lewis said.
The roughly 10-by-10-foot apple for this year’s event was created from metal by an area blacksmith and decorated with lights. The apple will be hoisted about 50 feet high on the ladder of a Martinsburg Fire Department fire truck.
Lewis said town square was renovated eight years ago, partly for the purpose of becoming home to events that create foot traffic in town. The community goal is coming to fruition with events such as a summer concert series, tree lighting, chili cook off, barbecue festival and the Apple Drop.
“It’s nice to see people being happy and joyful on town square,” he said. “I mean, it takes a village to make a community. We are getting a new sense of investment in downtown, getting new businesses and drawing new people.”
This year is extra special, Lewis said, as not only will people be celebrating the beginning of a new year, but also a new decade.
“Hopefully we will have a crowd and bring a smile to people’s faces,” he said. “It’ll be nice to see everyone looking at the apple drop slowly, ringing in the new decade. It’s a very fun event.”
Top photo: This year’s Apple Drop will feature a 10-by-10-foot metal apple that was crafted by an area blacksmith and decorated with lights. The apple will be hoisted about 50 feet high on the ladder of a Martinsburg Fire Department fire truck. (Submitted photo)