I’ve been a resident of the Atlanta area of Georgia—“The Peach State”—for 25 years, and for at least a quarter of that time, I’ve brought in the new year in Underground Atlanta, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of fellow transplants, ATLiens and out-of-town visitors as we await the city’s decades-long tradition, the Peach Drop.
My first time attending the festivities was in 1999, to bring in the new millennium. I remember being packed in with my closest high school friends, a drunken black man in a pink tank top in what had to be below-40-degree weather who kept shouting, “AAAAAAYYYYYEEEE” at random moments as we awaited the countdown, a white man in a long black trench coat who I kept a close eye on and warned my friends about in case we ended up having to rush his ass, and a preacher man who had earlier in the night held a prayer circle in a MARTA transit station bathroom.
We all huddled close in excitement (well, not trench coat dude, we all kind of kept him at a safe distance), gleefully counted down to the new year and watched that giant peach fall from its tower. And I knew I was home.
Unfortunately this year, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the city would ring in 2020 without it — breaking a 30-year tradition. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe it. What you talmbout, Keisha? WTF you meeeeeaaan ain’t no Peach Drop? Mind you, I hadn’t actually attended the event in at least 5 years, but I’m the sentimental type and I hate seeing longstanding traditions broken.
Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts, who has a long history in organizing the event, expressed similar sentiments while talking to Christian Jennings of WSB-TV Channel 2 Atlanta.
“I was a little disappointed that it was cancelled, having been involved in as long as I have been,” said Pitts.
If it’s any consolation to those who have also been soured by the absence of the big drop, Pitts did come up with an alternative: He’s showing off the peach from the ground.
“This is an iconic symbol. We’re inviting the public to come down to see it, touch it, feel it, take pictures in front of it.”
So the big peach will be on display in the atrium of the Fulton County Government Center through the end of January for public viewing.
I mean, I guess.
Chairman Pitts assures us that the Peach Drop will be back next year and that the event will be bigger and better than ever; they just need to find a new location.
“There are any number of other options for it in the downtown area, including our government center outside, including the Centennial Park, including Atlantic station—two or three have already expressed interest in it,”
Well, here’s hoping, y’all.