BOYERTOWN — Herr Bear made his 10th annual New Year’s Eve Drop at the Boyertown Area Historical Society on Tuesday, Dec. 31.
The drop took place at midnight German time (6 p.m. in Boyertown).
“We always wanted to keep it (the drop) a family-friendly event. We initially did it later, when a New Year’s Eve Drop would normally be. We realized this doesn’t work for families,” said Jim Bodiford, vice president of the Boyertown Area Historical Society board. “We thought, how can we do it earlier? I’m German, I was born in Stuttgart. So, I said why don’t we do it midnight in Germany, since this is a German area? Families can do their thing with their children and grandchildren before they go to their adult events.”
“This was Lindsay Dierolf’s idea.” said Bodiford “and I made the ("Bear Drop") apparatus out of spare parts.”
“My husband and I were visiting our daughter in Harrisburg on New Year’s Eve. They drop a strawberry. I was really intrigued and started looking into what they drop other places. I thought that would be really neat to do in Boyertown,” said Lindsay Dierolf, collections director for the Boyertown Area Historical Society.
“We went with the high school mascot — a bear,” added Bodiford.
The 3-foot-tall, lighted bear’s official name is "Herr Bear." Herr is German for Mister.
“The bear is basically a lawn ornament,” noted Bodiford.
Before the 6 p.m. drop, families are invited into the Historical Society for food including hot dogs and sauerkraut. There are games and crafts for the kids. Children are encouraged to decorate party hats and noisemakers.
Music was provided by Phoebe Kellener. “I started out singing songs in German. Then, switched to instrumental when it got loud,” said Kellener. “I love this event because it’s early. I can have my party, then go home.”
At around 5:30 p.m., the crowd of about 200 people ventured outside. With about 20 seconds remaining to 6 p.m., Jim Bodiford released Herr Bear for his two-story New Year’s Eve drop.
Aimee Schmale attended the "Bear Drop" with her friends, Leila El, Ryder Christ, and Will Jarobe. The group met in Germany as exchange students. They decided to reunite on New Year’s Eve.
“We wanted to do something German,” said Aimee Schmale. “So we came to the Bear Drop.”
“About two or three years ago, there was a little girl, standing and waiting (for the drop). She said ‘Mr. Bear dropper, I love Herr Bear.’ The bear came down and she gave him a big hug,” recalled Bodiford.