Moonpie Over Mobile New Year's Eve Celebration
Moonpie Drop & Laser Show With Fireworks
Today, our magical Moonpie over Mobile New Year's Eve celebration is lauded across the nation as one of the wackiest ways to bring in the New Year. For five years, the city of Mobile has been perfecting this event each year. However, when it was the brainchild of Mobile City Councilman, Fred Richardson, and his love of the moonpies typically thrown from parade floats in Mobile, it set off a violent storm of protests in 2008. Many people questioned his sanity. Mobile was beginning to feel the squeeze of a bad economy. Was this the right time to do this? A smaller group of people thought he was brilliant. The city had a previous, defunct celebration called "First Night" that did a good job getting people downtown. Why couldn't this be a great venue, now that Mobile's downtown was getting better than ever? Councilman Richardson has been vindicated, happily. Last year's event had estimated crowds of 60,000.
If you love to hear bands, you'll be glad to hear that there will be three stages of music from 5 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. Last year, there was one stage and I see this becoming a huge event in the future. The Bienville Square stage(Dauphin Street), the Austal Mardi Gras Park Stage (this is the big grassy area on Government and Royal Street), and the Main Stage(at St. Joseph & St. Francis Street- this is the other side of Bienville Square). The last act is the Commodores.
Later, nearby bars along Dauphin Street's entertainment corridor are hosting New Year's Eve fun. If you are 30 and under, you might enjoy Grand Central, Hayley's, or Boo Radley's. All ages will enjoy the Saddle Up Saloon (country), Soul Kitchen, Alabama Music Box, or Veet's(on Royal Street). Veet's has a sidewalk view of the drop since it is on Royal Street. The crowd is eclectic and lively, yet low key.
Ringing in 2012- Out with 2011
Moonpie! Moonpie! Moonpie!
Kids Can Eat a Giant Moonpie!
Since 2008, the centerpiece of all the hoopla is the moonpie, a delectable graham cracker cookie-type of marshmallow treat. It comes in many flavors, such as banana, chocolate, orange, strawberry, peanut butter, mint, and coconut. This is a favorite catch of Mobile Mardi Gras parade goers, with some sections of Mobile demanding and screaming, "Moonpie! Moonpie! Moonpie!" in deafening unison until a masker throws them some. Every year, a massive, edible moonpie, perhaps the world's largest, is served by the Chattanooga bakery in the courtyard of the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel on Royal St. and Government. This year's version is 80 pounds and has more than 45,000 calories.
More family-friendly activities for children, such as creating hats and masks, are planned nearby at the History Museum of Mobile and the Gulf Coast Exploreum from 6-10 p.m. This is right by the giant edible Moonpie. Further down Government Street towards the west, is the Mobile Carnival Museum. This is within walking distance, around 4-5 blocks.
Vernadean, Famous Fire-Breathing Dragon of Mystics of Time
Why Wait Til Mardi Gras for a Parade?
7:30 p.m. kicks off the Mardi Gras-style parade, which will follow a smaller route (see graphic above), and starts and ends at the Civic Center ( this is NOT the Convention Center, which is on the waterfront of the Mobile River). We love to hit the Malaga Inn Courtyard for drinks and walk out the back to the start of the parade route. Heck, stay there for the beginning and end!
I have heard this will be the first time to unveil the "chunkin' punkins" which shoot the delicious marshmallow morsels further in the crowd than ever.
All Dressed Up with Somewhere to Go and People to Help
For those who love to dress up, there are several philanthropic events to fund and attend.
McKemie Place will host a "Night to Remember" gala 9:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. at the Mobile Convention Center's Cityscape Gallery, which will offer a perfect place to view the Moonpie Drop while you dance to the big band sounds of the Mobile Big Band Society. Tickets are $50 per person, and will provide help to single, homeless women in the Mobile area. Complimentary champagne, but there will be a cash bar. As far as dress, you can dress up or come as you are. Go to www.mckemieplace.org to find out more.
Night owls will enjoy the Fuse Project's New Year's Eve Cocktail party from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Never mind that your grandmother said nothing good happens after midnight! This will be at Space 301, on the corner of Conti and Jackson Street (facing Cathedral Square). $90 per person will fund Gulf Coast children's charities. I understand voting on a favorite project of guests is involved. It includes a top shelf open bar and a New York City DJ ALX. Sounds intriguing! Learn more at www.nyemobile.com
Moonpie Drop Over Mobile
The actual Moonpie drop had many incarnations. The first year, it was dropped using a crane and some people felt very let down. The frustration of the Moonpie haters reached fever pitch. Frequently, foggy nights ruin the view. It is now dropped 34 feet down the RSA Banktrust high-rise and is 12 feet tall. I don't dare to say how much it costs to light it as I may enrage the haters, typically people who don't even pay taxes in Mobile. It is best viewed from Royal Street in front of the BattleHouse. It will begin at 11:59 p.m. To get an exclusive view as a Mobilian, join the Bienville Club, which is at the top of the tower. An even more exclusive view is from the Strikers Ball, the oldest non-parading mystic society, which is held at the Battle House Hotel.
However you celebrate the change to a new year, it seems that Mobile, Alabama is set to host one of the most delicious events of the year. Fred, you are a genius!