Kennett’s Mushroom Drop a roaring success

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Robust turnout for first-ever New Year’s Eve event

By Steven Silverman, Correspondent, The Times

Mushroominair

As midnight looms, a giant lit mushroom descends on downtown Kennett Square, New Year’s Eve. Reception and attendance for the first-year event was strong — with many in crowd hoping for it to become an annual event.

KENNETT SQUARE—It’s not often one gets to see a giant fungus touching down on a main street. This New Year’s Eve, Kennett provided such a treat.

The first ever Midnight in the Square Mushroom Drop drew thousands of revelers from all over the area. Cold temperatures did not diminish the warm spirit of the evening, which saw people pack streets shoulder to shoulder as midnight approached.

The highlight of the evening came just before the turn of the calendar, when the 8-foot, 700-pound, lighted, stainless-steel mushroom began to descend toward the intersection of State and Union Streets, reaching the ground as the clock struck 12. A digital clock was also placed on a traffic light pole to aid in the group countdown.

Funsters

The Funsters keep things rocking into the new year with a fun mix of popular music, despite the cold temperatures.

The event offered much more than just a spectacle, however. The Funsters, a seven-piece band (including a trumpet and two saxophones), played an impressive variety of classic songs, mainly in the soul and rock genres. With Eagles fever in the air, the crowd especially enjoyed a solo chorus of “Fly Eagles Fly” from the alto saxophonist. For those forward-thinking enough to place reservations or courageous enough to brave the wait times, nearly every restaurant on State Street was at peak capacity. Several food trucks were stationed on Broad Street for those in need of a quick bite.

Interestingly, the event itself was only approved by the borough on November 18, according to coordinator Kathi Lafferty. She added that the original plan was to drop the mushroom on Broad Street, but once the idea was featured in a “Good Morning America” segment, a consensus was reached to move it to State and Union, Kennett’s largest intersection.

To-Jo Mushrooms donated the massive mushroom, while Bob’s Crane Service of Kennett Square sponsored the equipment used to lower it to the street. The event was funded by the Kennett Area Restaurant and Merchants Association (KARMA), in conjunction with the Mushroom Festival.

Fooddonations

Donations of food, entry to the Mushroom Drop was one can of food for the Kennett Food Bank, are piled high near a Christmas tree. Not only did many local residents have a fun night, it aided a needy cause.

The Mushroom Festival organization has not made a decision about repeating the drop in future years, but judging by last night’s turnout, it seems there is plenty of public interest.

“This is the kind of small-town thing Kennett doesn’t usually do, so I thought I’d give it a try,” said attendee Meg Boeni, of East Marlborough.

“It’s a good first step, and great for the businesses. There seems to be enough turnout [to sustain the event],” added Duncan Keller, also of East Marlborough.

Admission to the event was free, but a donation of nonperishable food for the Kennett Food Cupboard was requested, and the response was tremendous (see image).

In terms of famous squares and New Year’s Eve drops, it’s safe to say Times has nothing on Kennett.

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