Looking for something different to do this New Year’s Eve? The City of Mobile, Alabama welcomes over 50,000 people each year to their MoonPie Over Mobile New Year’s celebration. Party the night away as you await the main event – a 600 pound giant MoonPie drop at midnight complete with a laser light show and fireworks. Welcome the new year with a little Mardi Gras flavor. After all, carnival season is just around the corner.
MoonPie Over Mobile – A New Year’s Celebration
Thousands of people gather in the streets of downtown Mobile to await the moment when the giant MoonPie drops from the sky, signifying the dawn of a new year as well as a new carnival season. USA Today Travel lists Mobile’s New Year’s Celebration as one of the 16 most unusual New Year’s Eve drops in the country. MoonPie Over Mobile is featured in both O, The Oprah Magazine, and Garden and Gun Magazine, both having named the celebration as a must-do New Year’s Eve event. TODAY, and Good Morning America have called MoonPie Over Mobile one of the most unique and fun celebrations in the country.
Significance of the MoonPie
As the oldest city in the state of Alabama, the city of Mobile is steeped in tradition. Founded in 1702 by the French, Mobile is the home of America’s very first Mardi Gras celebration. Yes, you read that correctly. While New Orleans may hold notoriety for the event, Mardi Gras actually started in the port city of Mobile, Alabama.
If you’re familiar with Mardi Gras festivities you know the MoonPie is a staple “throw” for revelers. First thrown from Mardi Gras floats in 1952, MoonPies have become Mobile’s favorite “throw.” The czity of Mobile actually consumes more than 4 million MoonPies annually. Seriously. You can find these tasty treats sold in local grocery store shelves year-round. The MoonPie is kind of a big deal here in the South.
World’s Largest, Edible MoonPie
Each New Year’s celebration kicks off at the Renaissance Riverview Hotel Plaza with the presentation of the world’s largest, edible MoonPie. The massive delicacy prepared by the Chattanooga Bakery, bakers of the original MoonPie, will be cut and fed to 200 people. This usually draws a large crowd so make sure to arrive early.
Second Line Parade
No party in Mobile is complete without a parade. The celebration continues with a Second Line Parade led by the famous Excelsior Band. The term “Second Line” is a tradition in brass band parades. The “first line” is the main section of the parade and the “second line” are those who follow the band just to enjoy the music. Decorate an umbrella and come join in the fun.
Live musical acts will perform on stages set up in the downtown streets. Musical entertainment debuts around 9:30 pm and continues through midnight. In year’s past musical headliners have included En Vogue, Village People, Gretchen Wilson, Wet Willie, and the The Commodores, to name a few. This year’s headliner, 38 Special, best known for their 1981 hit “Hold on Loosely,” is sure to have crowds “Rockin’ Into the Night.”
MoonPie Drop, Laser Show and Fireworks
The 12-foot-tall MoonPie will begin its descent from the 34-story RSA Trustmark Building just before midnight. A giant countdown is projected onto the walls of the building so that everyone can keep up with the time. The celebrations at midnight include an elaborate laser light show on three of Mobile’s tallest buildings in addition to spectacular fireworks.
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The Port City has over 80 area hotels, bed and breakfasts and historic inns available in a variety of price ranges. Be sure to check the event’s site for any New Year’s specials being offered by area hotels.
If you are looking to truly experience the Mobile area and all of its southern charm, I recommend staying in one of the following hotels:
- The Admiral Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. The Admiral Hotel is one of the city’s most iconic hotels located in the heart of the entertainment and cultural district. This newly renovated historic hotel offers modern decor and deluxe amenities.
- Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa, a Marriott hotel. This AAA Four Diamond hotel is located in the middle of downtown Mobile. The award-winning historic hotel is the essence of southern sophistication.
- Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa, located across the bay, just south of Fairhope. Members of the Historic Hotels of America, this hotel sits on 550 acres of scenic property on Mobile Bay. With a 20,000 square foot Grand Spa and two renowned golf courses, this is a great place to relax.
Can’t make it in time for New Year’s Eve? You still have time to plan a great getaway to Mobile for Mardi Gras. The official 2017 Mardi Gras season kicks off in downtown Mobile Friday, February 10th with the Conde Cavaliers parade hitting the streets at 6:30 pm. Parades will continue throughout the next two weeks ending on Fat Tuesday, February 28th.
“Mobile is a city where you come for the history, stay for the culture, return for the food. Mobile is a city born to celebrate.” – Visit Mobile