FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The clock is ticking down to the New Year, but instead of watching the ball drop in New York City, those in Flagstaff watch a Pinecone.
A six-foot, 70-pound pinecone.
It's currently displayed outside the historic Weatherford Hotel in Downtown Flagstaff. After being canceled for three years due to the pandemic and held virtually, it will again be held in person.
“I think it is going to be one of our biggest years ever,” says Chelsea Taylor-Gruters, the general manager for the Weatherford.
The hotel's co-owner Henry Taylor says they've held the Great Pinecone drop since 1999 when the Weatherford celebrated its 100th anniversary. Some 15 to 20,000 showed up to see it happen.
The event forced the city to shut down the streets, Taylor says. When he was asked what he thought of the previous years and the massive crowds that came to see, he chuckled and said, "Proud, it’s a cool event."
While it means so much to so many, Taylor-Gruters says it means just as much to them. "It feels good to be amongst the community and everyone back together,” she says while tearing up.
"It was a very scary time, and we weren't sure we were going to pull through, and now we have the opportunity to show the town how much we love them.”
The first Pinecone drop starts at 12:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Taylor-Gruters says it's mostly meant for kids at that time.
The second drop happens at 10:00 p.m., the same as the ball drop in New York. Then the final Great Pinecone drop is at midnight.
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