LEWISTOWN - More than seven years ago a couple of reporters at The Sentinel were trying to come up with a theme for a free New Year's Eve celebration in Lewistown.
Several ideas were kicked around the newsroom that day, some good, some bad, but one seemed to stand out, and what initially began as a joke, has blossomed into one of the most popular New Year's Eve celebrations in Central Pennsylvania - The Great Chip Drop.
The two burgeoning reporters principally responsible for the idea have since moved on to other endeavors. Nick Malawskey now works at The Patriot-News in Harrisburg and Sam Price is the executive director of Community Partnerships RC&D, whose headquarters is in Lewistown.
Submitted art by DON MULVIHILL
The Chip Drop got an artistic upgrade this year with Don Mulvhill’s rendition of the giant Hartley’s Potato Chip bag at the Monument Square New Year’s Eve celebration.
Price has managed to ensure the Chip Drop's survival through a group of generous local businesses who donate every year to keep the new tradition alive at Monument Square.
"We've been able to garner excellent community support," Price said.
Some businesses donate money, while others donate time or materials for the drop, all of which Price said he "deeply appreciates."
This year the Chip Drop also got an artistic upgrade, courtesy of Don Mulvihill, whose pop art rendition of the celebration will be available for purchase on commemorative T-shirts.
"I couldn't be happier that my art was chosen to represent this year's Great Chip Drop. I tried to create a piece that captures the essence of the event in the comic book style of pop art. It's exciting and quite an honor to be a part our community in this way. I must thank the Mifflin Juniata Arts Council for encouraging local artists such as myself to do what we love," Mulvihill said.
Price said the real story of the Chip Drop is the fact that so many people come together to make it happen.
Over time, Price was able to develop the celebration by providing a diverse experience for people of all ages.
The celebration has been featured on national news networks such as National Public Radio and in the New York Times, and also has jumped an entire ocean to appear on a Japanese television show.
In addition to the local musicians and artists, Price said he tries to bring in a national act for entertainment as well. This year Rob Post, a renowned comedian and performer, will present two free shows at the Stevens Auction Center.
"He's Robin Williams meets Buster Keaton," Price said of Post's performances.
The firemen of City Hook and Ladder will have the giant Hartley's potato chip bag hoisted up on their ladder truck during the evening and Lewistown Mayor Deb Bargo will lead the countdown ending with a fireworks show at midnight.
Schedule of events at The Great Chip Drop
-Main event shows inside Stevens Auction Center at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. with
comedian Robert Post *
-Food Pantry Donation Drop-Off, Monument Square- 8 p.m. to midnight*
Sponsored by Mifflin Juniata Human Services, United Way of Mifflin-Juniata,
Communities That Care and Community Partnerships RC&D
-Make 2014 better for those in need. Bring your donation to the Chip Drop:*
Food: peanut butter, spaghetti noodles/sauce, canned soup, canned fruit or
vegetables, rice Household: toilet paper, body soap, toothpaste/toothbrush,
shampoo, laundry detergent
-G-Man Entertainment- Monument Square: 8 p.m. all the way to 2014* Party
with DJ G-Man downtown! Brought to you by GME Communications
-Gallery 3West- Monument Square: Mifflin Juniata Arts Council *- Stop by
and check out the gallery for an array of activities and music
-R.B. Powell presents Acoustic Music Revue upstairs at the Historic
Courthouse One West Market St.: 8 p.m. to midnight -*Brought to you by
Nittany Mountain Trail Rides
-Conestoga Wagon Rides- Dayze Gone Bye: Monument Square 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.*
-McCoy House Museum 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.*The museum has been beautifully
decorated by members of the Mifflin County Garden Club. Stop in and see!
-Prayer Request and Resolution Table- Monument Square 8 p.m. to 11:30
to you by Communities That Care
-Community Song and Prayer- 11:30 p.m.: Juniata River Band, Lewistown
Ministerium Countdown to 2014 and*
-The Great Chip Drop - *Mayor Deb Bargo
-Midnight Fireworks To Ring in 2014 - *Brought to you by Geisinger-
Lewistown Hospital and Hartley's Potato Chips