Harmony rings in new year on German time

Ball drops early at celebration

January 2, 2020 Cranberry Living


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Children and adults each took turns reaching up to try and touch the ball at Harmony's New Year celebration. The town marked midnight in Germany by dropping the ball at 6 p.m. Tuesday at its annual Silvester event.

HARMONY — A ball, twinkling with white string lights, slowly dropped from a bucket truck toward the ground Tuesday as a packed town square counted down from 10 — or, rather, zehn.

Harmony welcomed in the new year with their German counterparts, rushing into 2020 at 6 p.m. as fireworks lighted the night sky.

Throughout the evening, residents and attendees — making the square practically impassible approaching town's early “midnight” — enjoyed Harmony's celebration of Silvester, an end-of-year treat observed mainly in Germany.

But in Butler County, the German-style celebration pleased the crowd with events including servings of glühwein or mulled wine, a Christmas tree toss and, of course, the new year countdown.

“You can have a good time, see some fireworks and be home by 9,” said Tom Holsinger, a Silvester attendee.

From the center of the square and extending down Mercer Road, both children and adults reveled in the festivities. In front of the tall DJ booth on the west side of Mercer Road, some danced to polka, while some children bopped to songs such as “Cotton Eye Joe.”

“It's wonderful the kids can run and play and be safe,” said Mayor Cathy Rape.

Down the road, lines for a pork and sauerkraut dinner stayed steady through the evening and glühwein — and other drinks — flowed freely into the mugs of Silvester-goers.

Neither the rain of 2017-18 nor the frost of 2018-19 celebrations reappeared. However the temperature was just right to bring snow in Harmony's last act of 2019.

Rodney Gasch, Historic Harmony president, said before the event that snow would make the event more “magical” — and those in attendance agreed.

“You get a bunch of people together, it's snowing, what more could you ask for?” asked John Wilson.

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Alex Weidenhof

Alex Weidenhof