PERRY — On Dec. 31, the people of Perry will be gazing at a giant, black buzzard.
And that’s just the way they want it.
“New Year’s Eve 2013 will not be your typical crystal ball drop in downtown Perry,” Mayor Jimmy Faircloth said this week, standing near a miniature water tower with a top hat-clad buzzard figurine inside.
The spectacle was a small replica of the Perry Buzzard Drop, which will kick off downtown this New Year’s Eve, officials said. At midnight, the bird will fall from the town’s water tower.
“New York City may host the Apple Drop ... and Georgia’s own Atlanta will host the pride of the Peach State’s Peach Drop,” Faircloth said. “However, here in Perry, we were thinking of something more original.”
Officials thought of the giant bologna drop in Lebanon, Penn., the live possum drop in Brasstown, N.C., and the MoonPie drop in Mobile, Ala.
But in Perry, “we will drop a buzzard,” Faircloth said.
The idea came from the migration of buzzards to Perry every fall. The birds already have been spotted around town this year, and hundreds are expected to roost throughout the city, officials said.
But the largest buzzard will roost on top of the water tower on New Year’s Eve. Bob Taylor, city vehicle maintenance director, built the buzzard with scrap materials at a low cost to the city, Faircloth said.
“I’m glad to see the city doing something for New Year’s,” Taylor said.
The event will begin at 9 p.m. with live music, food, drinks and souvenirs. Additionally, downtown businesses will stay open late.
“The merchants are very excited by it — anything that brings people downtown,” said Mildred McIntosh, president of the downtown merchants association. “It’s not just about making the sale. It’s about making downtown the place to go.