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The Drop: Detroit New Year's Eve Gets New Tradition With 'D' Drop

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Ball drop, schmall drop. This Detroit event will turn New York City's New Year's on its head, with the drop of a large, red "D" at midnight planned for this Saturday at Campus Martius.

The Drop, now in its second year, will turn the Compuware Atrium and Hard Rock Cafe into a destination for revelers on New Year's Eve, with food, drink, music, dancing and psychic readings, in addition to dropping the D. The midnight DJ set from Paradime of Kid Rock's Twisted Brown Trucker Band is expected to be a highlight.

While The Drop is a ticketed event, all are welcome to gather in Campus Martius to see the D descend. Tony Piraino, cofounder of the event, said that he hopes it will bring more people downtown -- from the surrounding areas, as well as from outside Michigan -- to see what the city is about.

"We're embarking on a new tradition for Detroit," Piraino said.

Planners of The Drop say they chose City Council President Charles Pugh as an emcee because of his strong leadership in the community.

This year's D takes it up a notch from last year with a seven-foot-tall D made by Dan Newman, owner of Rochester's AV7 Productions. The D weighs about 90 pounds and is made of aluminum and plexiglass. It uses the same font as radio station 106.7 "The D." It's lit by LED lights, which, according to Newman, will "go crazy" with colors when it starts to descend. Total drop: 100 feet -- more than the NYC ball's 70-foot drop (not that we're counting).

Newman also constructed a rigging system, carriage and towers. Expect a wild ride: "It's a lot like a roller coaster," Newman said.

While the D drop is pretty unique, other cities across the country have much more outlandish items falling from the sky this New Year's, from a giant Hershey's kiss to a live possum.

At least The Drop chose to represent Detroit with an iconic D -- a slightly sleeker version than the Old English letter adorning Tigers hats -- rather than, say, a giant tire.

For ball drops across Michigan (including one eco-friendly orb), see the Free Press.

But if you're staying in Detroit for New Year's, check out our slideshow of events. Who says you have to pick just one?

New Years Eve Detroit 2011
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