Monday, January 2, 2012

Dropping the Hog

Jenn and I couldn't really get too excited about New Year's Eve activities this year. I just wanted to stay local, but hosting a party would have been out of the question due to the small size of our apartment and pool of potential invitees.

Jenn found out that there were events at Fayetteville's Town Square starting a 6pm. Bands, a performance by the local improv group and a few other things that didn't really strike our interest, especially at the admission price of $10 per head. However, the city's website also said that at midnight, there would be a "Hog Drop" followed by a fireworks show. That sounded interesting. We had no idea what a "Hog Drop" entailed, and we were going to find out.

What I was imagining was a lit-up hog attached to some wall descending a few feet to mark the New Year.

After a quiet evening of watching episodes of Modern Family and a live feed of the ball dropping in Times Square -- which was odd to watch an hour early -- we put our shoes on and headed to the Square. We weren't sure what to expect. We didn't even know if we were going to get charged $10; if so, it was going to be a quick outing. We reasoned that they couldn't have charged us to be there for a half-hour, and we were right.

We got to the Square at around 11:30 and the Square was closed off to cars. People were milling around and there was a firetruck in the middle of the street. Its ladder/cherry picker was extended and hanging from it was a hog made of plaster of paris.
People were invited take pictures next to the hog.

At this point, I was pretty impressed. I was imagining that as we got closer to midnight, the ladder would rise and at the stroke of midnight, the hog would be released to fall onto the street below. Jenn even wondered if there was candy on the inside, which added a piñata element to the fun.
Though the ladder did hoist the hog up to about fifty feet into the air, we figured out that this would not be a piñata situation. And as we watched the hog dance wildly when the wind picked up, we realized that dropping an object from that height near a large group of onlookers could result in some accidental injuries which would lead to some lawsuits.

With about a minute or so left in 2011, the hog was slowly lowered to street level. However, it wasn't timed very well, so at the stroke of midnight, the hog was only three-quarters the way down and still moving. At that point, the fireworks show started, so the hog touched the ground rather anticlimactically and with no one paying attention to it.
The fireworks were impressive, and we were surprised at how long the show went on. By the time the firefighters took the hog off the line, put the ladder in its normal position and drove off, the fireworks were still going. There were several pauses in the display, making the crowd think that it was over, only to have the smattering of polite applause -- tempered by what was thought to be a lame finale -- halted by more fireworks.

I find myself at fireworks shows thinking the following thoughts:
  1. Okay, this is more of the same.
  2. How long is this supposed to go on for?
  3. Oh, stop saying "ooh," people. This technology is centuries old.
  4. Wow, that was pretty neat.
When the fireworks show was over, about fifteen minutes later, Jenn and I headed home for some New Year's champagne (though it was from California, so it wasn't really) and some New Year's French silk pie, which we picked up the previous day from Village Inn.

As fun as the activities on the Square were, everything is made better with champagne and pie.

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