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Md. crab drop gets New Year’s Eve spotlight

Md. crab drop gets New Year’s Eve spotlight

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EASTON — New York, London, Moscow, Beijing, Kolkata and downtown Easton, Md. are all among the places CNN will be broadcasting from to ring in the new year on Wednesday, Dec. 31.

From 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Gary Tuchman, CNN reporter and correspondent for Anderson Cooper 360, will be in downtown Easton showing the world Easton’s First Night Talbot festivities, including the 10th annual Crab Drop as part of CNNs “New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin.”

“Every year we try to find a different slice of Americana doing a different kind of drop. What people don’t realize is that there are hundreds of places in the United States that drop things for New Year’s Eve. Everyone knows about Times Square,” Tuchman said. “But what we try to do each year is perhaps show something that the viewers around the world aren’t aware of.”

Among those slices of Americana covered by CNN have been the sardine drop in Eastport, Maine and the watermelon drop in Vincennes, Ind.

The Crab Drop in Easton is part of First Night Talbot, which is a family-centered night filled with art and entertainment, including a mime, magicians and musical acts in venues throughout the downtown area.

“This is the ‘walk the walk’ of a family celebration without alcohol, modeling for the children and the community that you can have a sober celebration and an incredible amount of fun,” said Carolyn Jaffe, who is part of the team that organizes the event.

According to Jaffe, the event attracts between 1,300 and 1,500 people each year.

The First Night movement began in Boston in 1976 as a way to provide a communitywide celebration through the arts, without alcohol. In 1994 through a two-year grant, First Night came to Easton.

“We decided that we needed to continue and that we couldn’t just let it fizzle out,” Jaffe said. She along with others raised money to continue the festivities. The celebration is now under the umbrella of the Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention.

It wasn’t until 10 years ago that Talbot residents Rich and Suzanne Hood decided to contribute to the event and built the 6-foot-wide crab that drops from 25 feet in the air.

“They got the idea after going to Bermuda, where they drop an onion,” their son Lance Hood said. Lance now operates the Crab Drop each year.

The crab drops twice each year and is accompanied both times by a parade of sea creatures. The first drop happens at 9 p.m. for those who will be warm in their beds by midnight, and then there is another at midnight.

Having worked as an anchor for WBOC in the 80s, Tuchman said he is excited to share the Eastern Shore with the world. “It’s a great honor for me to go to smaller cities that people in LA or London or Lagos, Nigeria don’t know about, but they will know all about after New Year’s Eve.”

According to CNN, the network reaches more individuals on television, the Web and mobile devices than any other cable TV news organization in the U.S., and distributes news channels to more than 271 million households abroad.

Although Tuchman said he looks forward to the New Year’s special each year, he is especially looking forward to this year because he will be able to spend time with his daughter, Lindsay Tuchman, who is now a reporter with WBOC.

“The most important goal for us on this night is to have a lot of fun,” Tuchman said. “I really look forward to meeting the people of Easton and Talbot County on New Year’s Eve.”

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