Ever heard of these hunting and fishing-related New Year’s celebrations?
Everyone knows about the ball dropping celebration that takes place every New Year’s Eve in New York’s Times Square. Even for those of us who have never been in New York City to ring in the New Year, years and years of telecasts have made the ball dropping ceremony the default way to ring in the New Year. There could hardly be a wide scale party more iconic and well known than NYC’s ball dropping bash.
Still, why should New York City have all the fun? Sure, the city may well be the hub of western civilization, but over the years, people in cities and small towns throughout the United States have realized that, rather than simply watching the final minutes of one year and the first moments of the next play out on a television screen in their living room, they can have ball dropping celebrations of their own.
Memphis, in celebration of its storied rock ‘n’ roll heritage, drops a 10-foot Gibson guitar at midnight. Plenty of cities drop fruit, from Atlanta, which drops a giant peach, to Miami, which drops an orange, to Traverse City, Michigan – the supposed “Cherry capital of the world” – which drops, you guessed it, a giant cherry.
But what about cities not known for their music history or for their profitable fruit crops? What about towns that pride themselves instead on hunting and fishing traditions? So far, we haven’t found many towns that drop an object in dedication to hunting. After all, dropping a giant rifle from the sky might send the wrong message, and a huge wooden deer would probably be equally confusing.
However, for those who want to find a place where they can celebrate New Year’s and let their passion for fishing fly free, Port Clinton, Ohio is without a doubt the right place for you to be.
Ever since 1996, Port Clinton, Ohio has been ringing in the New Year with a gigantic walleye. The town, which is situated on the shores of Lake Erie and which plays host to many a walleye angler each year, follows the Atlanta and Miami tradition of marking the start of its New Year by dropping a gigantic replica of its biggest export.
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It just so happens that, in Port Clinton, the biggest export is neither oranges or peaches, but walleye. In other words, this town holds pretty much the ultimate New Year’s party for obsessive fishing enthusiasts.
Naturally, the larger than life walleye – which was created by town taxidermist, Jim Wendt, nearly two decades ago – has a name. This particular walleye is christened with the name Wylie.
Back in 1996, Wylie was a bit more modest than he is now, fashioned out of papier-mâché, measuring a respectable 17 feet in length, and weighing in at about 120 pounds. Now, the original Wylie has been retired in favor of a 20-foot, 600-pound incarnation. Needless to say, watching the enormous fish drop from the sky at midnight on December 31st is something that all fishermen and women should see – especially those with a taste for walleye.
Featured image via Toledo Blade