Pasty drop returns to ring in new year

ESCANABA — For the fourth year, a pasty will help ring in the new year during Escanaba’s New Year’s Eve Pasty Drop. The event is sponsored by the Escanaba Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

Before the midnight pasty drop, a Rock the Dock fireworks display will be held at the Escanaba Municipal Dock at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31.

Following the fireworks at 10 p.m., Yoopers and visitors alike can start to gather at Center Court outside the DDA building located at 1025 Ludington St., to wait for the iconic Upper Peninsula meat pie to descend.

While there, participants can enter to win door prizes, play games, and enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and of course, pasties.

According to Escanaba DDA Director Ed Legault, the dropping of the four-by-six-foot wire meat pastry began four years ago when the Bay de Noc Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (UUF) had an idea for making New Year’s Eve traditions in Escanaba.

“We thought it was a great idea and it was different,” he said.

After seeing the traditional ball drop in New York City’s Time Square on television and Marquette’s ball drop in its downtown, the UUF presented the idea of the pasty drop to the DDA.

“The pasty is a way of life in the Upper Peninsula,” he said, adding this was a great way to publicize Escanaba and put it on the map for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Pasties originated in Cornwall, England, and were brought to the U.P. by English immigrants who came to work in U.P. mines.

The Pasty Drop even reached an international scale of publicity after its second year. Legault explained he sent information about the event to the Weather Channel. While the Weather Channel did not do a story, Leagult said an NBC affiliate out of London, England, took the story and ran with it — displaying the event on their news coverage, along with New York’s ball drop.

Legault explained the pasty is constructed of chicken wire and tubing along with thousands of lights, and will drop with the assistance of a crane at midnight.

The crane that will help the pasty drop will be brought in by CR Meyer Friday and on Saturday morning, the giant pasty will be hoisted into the sky.

Legault said both the fireworks and the pasty drop have been successful events for locals and visitors alike since its inception and is a fun family way to ring in the New Year.

“We’re excited about it,” he said, adding he hopes to see a lot of people out to enjoy both the pasty drop and fireworks display.

The New Year’s Eve events are sponsored by Bay de Noc UUF, CR Meyer, Gram’s Pasties, and Halbinsel VW/Mazada.