$2,500 ball drop highlight in Little Gap
It's the final countdown!
To be sure, the fevered frenzy that will ring in 2014 figures to be on the uptick when the Covered Bridge Inn sponsors its 11th annual New Year's Eve Gala and Ball Drop in Little Gap Square.
Snow has covered the Blue Mountain for skiers, and transformed the town square into a ski village for the holiday season, according to Ron Gilbert, owner of the Covered Bridge Inn.
"Interestingly, each year the celebration has gotten bigger, and the crowd coming to it has gotten larger," Gilbert said. "This is a great opportunity for the Inn to provide a festive gathering for everyone to have some fun at a community event."
Gilbert said this year's event will also celebrate the "remaining open" of the Covered Bridge, the direct route to and from Blue Mountain Resort.
Both the 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.
This year's festivities will begin with the Covered Bridge Inn introducing new executive chef James Gasper, who previously held the same position for 6 1/2 years at the Hotel Bethlehem.
Gasper will prepare meals from 5 to 11 p.m.
The New Year's Eve party will begin at 9 p.m., with Monroe County's own Jeni Hackett performing.
Just prior to midnight, the party will gravitate out to Little Gap Square for the 50-foot lighted ball drop from a bucket truck.
After the ball drops, the evening gala will continue inside the Inn as Jeni Hackett will entertain the party goers until the early morning hours.
Ironically, Gilbert noted his idea for a New Year's Eve celebration came through a combination of the annual New Year's Eve Eagle Rise in downtown Tamaqua, as well as New York's Times Square.
"The first year we opened, we were just sitting around talking and said Times Square has a ball, and we can make a ball," he said. "We got a rubber ball, wrapped it with tin foil, wrapped it with lights, and each year, we added more lights and more lights."
Gilbert said the event costs about $2,500 to stage.
"What really excites us about it is it gets bigger and bigger," he said. "People just drive up to Little Gap Square and stop."