New York has its crystal ball, and Atlanta has its peach, but on the Gulf Coast, Pensacola celebrates New Year’s Eve with its annual New Year’s Eve Pelican Drop celebration.
The Pensacola Pelican is 14-feet tall with a 20-foot wingspan. More than 1,500 lights flash and sparkle when the giant silver bird is lowered from its 100-foot perch at midnight, accompanied by confetti, music and a firework spectacular. The Pensacola Pelican is modeled after the brown pelican, which is a favorite resident of the Gulf Coast, symbolizing the beauty and resilience of the Gulf Coast community.
Launched to welcome 2009, the annual Pensacola Pelican Drop™ will welcome 2012 with its grandest ever celebration. More than 40,000 people have packed the historic Gulf Coast city’s downtown streets for the event each year, and this year’s crowd is expected to be even bigger.
The event has traditionally started at 5 p.m. and lasted until after the fireworks show, generally around 1 a.m. Families with young children who may not be able to stay for the entire late night event are invited to celebrate the lighting of the pelican, which ascends to its 100-foot perch and lights up the sky at 8 p.m. each year.
Dozens of downtown shops, restaurants and other vendors will be open for business along with live music, local entertainers and children’s activities to entertain the crowds in the hours before the evening’s main event, the midnight Pelican Drop in the heart of downtown.
Downtown Pensacola offers plenty of accommodations for out-of-town visitors, and is just a 10 minute drive from Pensacola Beach, which has the bragging rights for the world’s whitest beaches and numerous hotels, motels, condos and homes for rent during the winter months.
So plan to kick off 2012 in downtown Pensacola, then visit the area’s beautiful beaches, historic sites, world-renowned dining and thriving art community. It’s the perfect place to gain a new perspective for a new year.
Height: 14 ft.
Wingspan: 20 feet
Weight: 300 lbs.
Number of feathers: 2000+
Number of lights: 1,500+
Goes up:100 feet
Drops to: 40 feet
Built in: 2008
“PENSACOLA” added in 2009
New Year numbers: Over 6 feet tall
Aluminum frame and feathers
Based on the Gulf Coast’s Brown pelican
Designed and constructed by: Michael Dicks, Pensacola