BOISE, Idaho — For almost a decade now, there has been one event in Idaho’s capital city that people could flock to and ring in the new year with thousands of other revelers.
However, that is not the case this year as the Idaho Potato Drop has pivoted to a TV-only event due to the ongoing pandemic.
“Never a thought we wouldn't be able to pull this off,” event organizer Dylan Cline told KTVB.
Cline has been the main organizer behind the annual event that includes a daylong celebration - highlighted by the lowering of an enormous potato at the strike of midnight - each New Year's Eve.
This year, because of the pandemic, there will be no in-person celebration at the Idaho Statehouse. Instead, it will be held at an undisclosed location in an effort to keep the crowds away.
“We did look at a lot of different private venues and the reason for that is simply for public safety,” Cline said. “The number one concern for us is protecting the safety of our community.”
It hasn’t been easy keeping the location a secret this year though.
“It is a little tricky trying to keep that 2,000-pound, 16-foot spud under wraps and hidden when you're getting from A to B,” he said. “A lot of people are really upset they can't actually come down and physically attend the event.”
The event can still be viewed on KTVB.com from 9 p.m. until after midnight. Then at 11:30 p.m., the KTVB will broadcast the festivities, including the potato drop, live on Channel 7. Cline promises to make the broadcast worth tuning in to.
“We are again hosting the Urban Air Exhibition but this year we are adding to it, we brought back our rail jam portion of the competition,” he said. “We've also added a few other features to it. We've also added pyrotechnics.”
One new feature this year is a 30-foot flame column at the end of Idaho’s biggest ski jump.
“So, that's going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
They’ve also made the fireworks show a lot bigger this year.
“If you really want to find out where the potato is dropping this year, look out your window at midnight,” he said. “It’s going to be so big you can't miss it.”
The potato drop isn’t the only fake produce that will be used to ring in the new year Thursday night. The City of Emmett is hosting the 6th annual Cherry Rise.
The event will be held at Bowman Memorial Park. The event organizer is encouraging folks to stay in their family clusters and a minimum of six feet away from other family groups for social distancing.
In an effort to keep people distanced, there will not be any patio heaters or fire pits at the event.
Then in Rupert, the city is hosting the 2nd annual Sugar Beet Drop. Live music gets underway starting at 7 p.m. People can come and go throughout the day at no charge.
Traffic will not be allowed into the Rupert Town Square as officials look to expand the area and allow for more social distancing. The event organizer said this will allow for people to be where they are comfortable.
There will also be a beer garden and food vendors. Fireworks will light up the sky at midnight. The event will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.
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