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Mobile to drop 350-pound MoonPie

Mobile to drop 350-pound MoonPie

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2012 4:00 pm

MOBILE, Ala. —Mobile, Ala., knows how to throw a party and, this New Year’s Eve, its downtown is the place to be. Whether you prefer RC Cola or a glass of champagne, ring in 2013 with a free street festival headlined by The Commodores, a Mardi Gras-style parade, family activities and a laser light show — culminating in the drop of a giant, 350-pound MoonPie at midnight.
The free events will kick off with a Mardi Gras-style parade at 7:30 p.m. that will parade through downtown. Such local and regional acts as Wet Willie Band, Hotwire, Grayson Capps and others will be performing on stages in Mobile’s historic Bienville Square and at Government and Royal Streets on the Austal Stage in Mardi Gras Park where two of the city’s notable museums, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center and History Museum of Mobile will be offering children’s activities as the clock moves closer to the magical midnight hour. At midnight, eyes in Mobile and across the Central Time Zone, including those watching WMC in Memphis and KFVS in Cape Giradeau, Mo., will be on Mobile’s Mardi Gras icon — the MoonPie. The 12-foot-tall electronic MoonPie will descend from the 34-story RSA BankTrust skyrise as the city welcomes 2013 and the beginning of Mardi Gras season. This is the fifth year the iconic MoonPie has debuted as part of Mobile’s New Year’s Eve Celebration.
“We looked at several locations and wanted to bring the MoonPie Drop and stage location closer together to build more enthusiasm,” said Mayor Sam Jones of Mobile. “The combination of the great entertainment, the uniqueness of the MoonPie Drop and an anticipated large crowd have the makings of one amazing evening,” said Jones. “Austal USA, a new sponsor, and our other sponsors are making this possible and we are delighted that 20 media markets will be counting down the new year live from Mobile, Ala.”
In addition to the smaller stages featuring local acts throughout the evening, the main stage adjacent to Bienville Square, will allow for larger crowds, better protection from the weather and great views of the MoonPie and the fireworks shows.
This year’s MoonPie Over Mobile celebration will start with a Mardi Gras-style parade featuring floats, bands and a few surprises. Afterwards, a street party of live entertainment will help draw thousands of people downtown. Crowds will be able to write their New Year’s resolutions on two giant boards and start 2013 off right. Downtown Mobile will be one giant street party that will last into the early hours of the New Year.
“Mobile’s New Year’s Eve Celebration featuring the MoonPie Over Mobile has become a cultural phenomenon in the entire USA,” said Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson. “Just like the Commodores song, making New Year’s Eve plans is ‘Easy,’ just head to downtown Mobile for a fun and safe celebration to remember. Last year, we had more than 60,000 people attend MoonPie Over Mobile and we hope to make it even larger this year,” said Richardson. “I look forward to this New Year’s Eve being the best that has ever been in our city.”
First started in 2008, MoonPie Over Mobile gives locals and tourists a chance to experience New Year’s Eve with a bit of Mardi Gras flavor. Richardson is credited for creating the MoonPie Over Mobile concept.
“All eyes will be on Mobile this New Year’s Eve,” said Kent Blackinton, general manager of Renaissance Riverview Plaza and president of the Mobile Hotel Association. “We have added more family friendly activities to make this great party even better this year. With lots of fun and affordable options, we are looking to fill the streets of Mobile and the hotel rooms in the city to welcome 2013 with a bang. Television viewers throughout the Central Time Zone can watch MoonPie Over Mobile live in a 35-minute telecast on Raycom stations, but we would rather have you being part of the excitement.”
What’s new this year?
Reach for the Moon — Resolution wall
Dine on the world’s largest edible MoonPie from Chattanooga Bakery in the beautiful courtyard of the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel on Royal and Government streets in downtown Mobile as you toss your cares away by leaving your 2012 resolutions on the “Reach for the Moon” Resolution Wall. Make new resolutions on this giant board or on the one near the RSA BankTrust Building and start the New Year off right.
Three stages with diverse acts
The Mardi Gras Park Stage at the cover of Government and Royal Streets will have live music from 6 to 11 p.m. and feature Perfect Image Show & Band; Elmo & the Bluesmen; and Grayson Capps. The Bienville Square Stage will have entertainment from 5 to 9, ending with Hotwire. The Main Stage at St. Joseph and St. Francis Streets will have opening remarks at 8:45 p.m., The Wet Willie Band from 9 to 10:30 and The Commodores from 11 to 12:30 a.m.
Why a MoonPie?
Mobile is the home of America’s first Mardi Gras celebration, and the MoonPie is the favored “throw” of the hundreds of Mardi Gras maskers riding the floats during the extensive Mardi Gras parade season. MoonPies were first thrown from Mardi Gras floats in 1952. Today, Mobile consumes more than four million MoonPies annually, and has adopted the delicious treat as an informal emblem. For the MoonPie Over Mobile celebration, this southern city has teamed up with Chattanooga Bakery, the maker of the iconic MoonPie marshmallow sandwich, to create the largest electronic MoonPie as the featured attraction for its New Year’s Eve celebration. This is the fourth year an electronic version of the delicious treat will light up downtown Mobile.

Published in The Messenger 12.31.12

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