Three, two, one.

Happy New Year!

Those will be the greetings from well-wishers who attend the 10th annual New Year's Eve Gala and Ball Drop in Little Gap Square at the Covered Bridge Inn.

Located at the base of Blue Mountain Ski Area in the village of Little Gap, just five miles east of Palmerton, the Covered Bridge Inn will again host the event.

The festivities will get under way when Covered Bridge Inn's culinary staff will create exciting entrées made with the freshest farm and ocean ingredients personally selected by owner Ron Gilbert.

At 10 p.m., a gala New Year's Eve party featuring Carbon County's own Jesse Wade providing entertainment will begin.

Then, just before midnight, the party will gravitate out into Little Gap Square for the 10th annual 50 foot ball drop.

Gilbert said "when the ball touches the ground, 26 helium balloons will be released to honor our fallen heroes and the 26 new stars in the sky from Sandy Hook Elementary."

"Following the ball drop, the evening gala will continue with Jesse Wade entertaining party goers in to the early morning hours," Gilbert said. "It's a great opportunity for Covered Bridge Inn to provide a festive gathering for everyone to have some fun and reflect at a community event during these economic times."

The event continues to grow in popularity each year, said Gilbert, who noted the ball is not Waterford crystal, but has 1800 LEF lights designed by Shawn Kresge Electric of Jim Thorpe, and a high lift truck provided by JBM Mechanical Company of Bath.

Both the covered bridge and Covered Bridge Inn were built in the early 1800s.

The Covered Bridge Inn was once a stagecoach stop along the trail from Philadelphia to Scranton

Gilbert said it remains one of the finest local eating establishments in the area, offering freshly prepared culinary delights.

"Its scene may not be reminiscent of Times Square, but the short drive to the New Year's Eve Gala and ball drop in Little Gap Square makes it the perfect opportunity to join friends both old and new in ringing in the new year," he said. "Whether you are coming for dinner, the party, or just to join with friends for the ball drop, it's an opportunity to cherish special times."

For more information and reservations, call (610) 826-5400.