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‘Ville revelers ring in new year sans apple drop

By The Mercury

The Big Apple’s New Year’s Eve Performance in Times Square wasn’t the only celebration that experienced some technical difficulties this year.

In Aggieville, the apple didn’t drop.

At 12:10 a.m. the little apple was still shining at the top of a pole above the new Rally House marquee, which replaced the iconic Varney’s Book Store sign.

Linda Mays, executive director of the Aggieville Business Association, said the winch that drops the apple malfunctioned a few hours before the event. There were people on the roof trying to get it fixed but ultimately they weren’t able to, she said.

“Unfortunately it was out of our control and we weren’t able to fix it,” Mays said.

In the Big Apple, singer Mariah Carey struggled with pre-recorded tracks for ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.’ The performance included moments when she lowered the microphone from her mouth and the music, vocals and all, kept playing, making it clear she was lip-synching.

Fireworks lit up Aggieville as soon as the countdown to midnight reached zero. Well after the streets were mostly cleared, two more fireworks went off.

Mays said the fireworks were lined up and ready to go off at a certain time but two of them did not go off. The person in charge of the fireworks had to set them off as part of clean up.

Otherwise, Mays said, the event ran smoothly, thanks to the event sponsors and volunteers.

“It was a great event in spite of what happened,” she said.

When the fireworks stopped and people realized the apple was not going to drop, people walked away from the Moro Street and Manhattan Avenue intersection, some muttering that they were disappointed, or wondering what went wrong.

It was the first time Veronica Crismore and Robert Varnado had celebrated New Year’s Eve in Aggieville.

“We expected the apple to drop,” Crismore said. “It was a little disappointing.”

“Aside from that, the atmosphere was great,” Varnado added.

Crismore and Varnado said they enjoyed the celebration and planned to spend New Year’s Eve in Aggieville in upcoming years, especially after Crismore turns 21 years old.

People started emptying bars and crowding into Moro Street and Manhattan Avenue about 10 minutes before midnight. The crowd listening to M31, a local rock and blues band, grew quickly as the new year approached.

With the temperature around 20 degrees, people wore scarves and hats to keep warm as they pushed through the crowd to get closer to the stage. Allison Pfeifer said she kept warm by dancing in bars before coming out to see the apple drop.

“It’s always great that they just put this on so that everyone could come out and have a good time,” Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer said she’d visited Aggieville throughout the week and hadn’t seen a lot of people out in Manhattan. She was glad to see a big crowd out for the event.

“To see this many people out here get together and celebrate is really awesome,” she said.

JS Sign & Awning has volunteered to redesign the apple for free for the next celebration, Mays said. The apple is 14 years old and the event will celebrate its 15th year next New Year’s Eve.

“We had a packed house,” Mays said. “We’re really looking forward to doing it again.”

Video of the New Year’s Eve countdown, recorded from on top of the marquee at Rally House.
New Year’s Eve in Manhattan, KS | 12-31-16 from Manhattan Mercury

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