Ring out the old year, bring in the new.

What better place to do so than at the ninth annual New Year's Eve Gala and Ball Drop in Little Gap Square at the Covered Bridge Inn?

The festivities will get under way when Covered Bridge Inn's executive chef, Jillian LeClair, creates exciting entrées prepared with the fresh farm and ocean ingredients hand selected by owner Ron Gilbert from noon until 10 p.m.

At 10 p.m., acoustic entertainment will begin with a gala New Year's Eve party that will feature Monroe County's own Jeni Hackett. Afterward, the party will gravitate to Little Gap Square for the ninth annual 50-foot lighted ball drop at midnight.

The ball is not Waterford crystal, but has 1,800 LED lights designed by Shawn Kresge Electric of Jim Thorpe, and is lowered 50 feet from a high lift truck also provided by Kresge Electric.

After the ball drop, the evening gala will continue as Hackett will entertain the party goers into the early morning hours.

The event will also celebrate the reopening of the Covered Bridge, the only functioning covered bridge in Carbon County which was damaged in June by a construction vehicle. Both the bridge and the Covered Bridge Inn were built in the early 1800s.

Ron Gilbert, owner, said the Covered Bridge Inn "still is one of the finest local eating establishments in the area."

"It's 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 in ringing in the new year," Gilbert said.

Gilbert said the event continues to grow in popularity each year, and the re-opening of the historic covered bridge will only add to the festive celebration in Little Gap Square.

Gilbert said the event's "a great opportunity for the Covered Bridge Inn to provide a festive gathering, especially in this economy for everyone to have some fun at a community event."

Covered Bridge Inn is located at the base of Blue Mountain Ski Area in the village of Little Gap, just five miles east of Palmerton.

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