MoonPie Over Mobile: Kicking Off the Bicentennial Year
Posted January 24, 2019
On December 31st, Alabama Bicentennial Commission staff members traveled to Mobile for the “MoonPie Over Mobile” festivities, arguably the most unique New Year’s Eve celebration in the country.
For a decade, Alabama’s Port City has rung in the New Year with spunk and style. Despite concerns about inclement weather, year 11 was no exception! Eager locals and travelers alike gathered outside the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel to get a slice of the “world’s largest edible MoonPie,” cut by Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Councilman Fred Richardson, and Alabama Bicentennial Commission Executive Director Jay Lamar. This was followed by a second line parade from Royal Street to the main stage, led by the Port City Second Liners. Sister Sledge performed at 11 o’clock to an enthusiastic crowd. As midnight approached, the crowd began to merge onto the intersection of Water Street and St. Francis Street to watch the MoonPie drop from the RSA Battle House Tower and ring in the new year.
This year’s MoonPie Drop Over Mobile did double-duty as New Years and as the kickoff for our state’s bicentennial year. Staff members were actively engaged that evening distributing red Mardi Gras-style beads and cowbells with the AL200 logo to revelers young and old to pay homage to the Port City’s unique festive culture while raising awareness about our state’s year-long bicentennial celebration. The whole evening was a blast, but watching countless small children light up when we handed them a cowbell made it a special event. We estimate that we gave away six to seven thousand beads and cowbells each! At the corner of St. Joseph and St. Francis streets, revelers were encouraged to write their hopes and dreams for the new year on the Alabama Bicentennial Resolution Wall. Executive Director Jay Lamar welcomed the crowd with a brief speech just before the concert started late in the evening.
As the MoonPie made its descent in the last minute of 2018, the sound of thousands of bicentennial cowbells rang out in the night. When the clock struck midnight, the clanging of cowbells gave way to the colorful bursts of fireworks above the RSA Battle House Tower as hundreds of people exchanged hugs, kisses, and well wishes below. We cannot think of a better way to launch Alabama’s bicentennial celebration than in carnival-like fashion in our state’s oldest city. -A. Blake Denton