Mannington celebrates New Year’s Eve in the most West Virginia way possible.
As throngs of people watch in person and the whole world tunes in on TV, New York City drops its iconic Waterford crystal ball as midnight approaches. Other places drop other things—some unusual, some perfectly fitting for the location—like a giant lobster in Machias, Maine, a pickle in Mount Olive, North Carolina, a popcorn ball in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and, as of 2019, a pepperoni roll in Mannington.
Last year’s first-time event was made possible by efforts from Main Street Mannington and local businesses. Mannington Chief of Police Jim Rigsby, who served as Main Street director at the time, wanted to find a way to get people out in the wintertime and excited about Mannington. He settled on the pepperoni roll drop idea and got to work. His friend Ben Kolb, owner of Nativibes in Mannington, created the celebratory roll out of plastic, LED lights, steel, and wood. Kolb says many hours of research and design time went into the final product.
With plenty of West Virginians ready to bid adieu to 2020, the giant pepperoni roll will fall above Mannington again this year. A new amphitheatre will be completed by then will serve as the backdrop, Rigsby says, and that will give people plenty of space to spread out. Planners are taking COVID-19 seriously and are creating 12×12-foot squares where cohorts of people can celebrate together but maintain social distance from other groups. Each square will also have a fire pit so that onlookers can keep warm and toasty.
A host of other entertainment is planned, from live music to great food. Keep up to date on the event’s Facebook page: 2nd Annual New Year’s Eve Great Pepperoni Roll Drop.