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Pinecone Poised for New Year Countdown

Glistening with December snow, Flagstaff is Arizona’s winter wonderland and the northland’s hub of activity for ringing in the New Year. Thousands are expected to count down to 2012 in the historic downtown on Sunday, Dec. 31. All eyes will be on the Weatherford Hotel’s Great Pine Cone.

“The New Year’s Eve Pine Cone Drop at the Weatherford Hotel has quickly become the premier signature event in historic downtown Flagstaff. Not only is it a tremendous economic impact for our city, but as one stands outside in the cold watching the Pine Cone and welcoming in the New Year, you can’t help but feel a magical connection to our historical past as your heart eagerly anticipates the coming year,” said City of Flagstaff and the Downtown Business Alliance Manager of Enhanced Service Districts Steve Saville.

The Weatherford Pine Cone is to northern Arizona what the Waterford Crystal Ball is to New York’s Times Square. Both will be lowered on New Year’s Eve as revelers across the country say good-bye to 2011. As the countdown clock ticks off the seconds, the Pine Cone is decorated, lighted and poised for celebration, hanging like a giant ornament from the historic Weatherford Hotel’s roof above downtown Flagstaff.

Flagstaff Vice Mayor Al White says the six-foot tall, 70-pound LED-lighted mountain town ornament gives the town a unique identity. “The New Year represents tradition and optimism, but Flagstaff has always had its own identity, something we’ve been proud of in terms of having its place in Arizona.”

As has been done for the past 13 years, there will be two lowerings on Saturday, Dec. 31: one at 10 p.m. to coincide with East Coast celebrations and allow more families to participate; and, one at midnight.

“We’ll have an extravagant LED light show again this year at both events, along with fireworks sponsored by the City of Flagstaff,” said Weatherford Hotel co-owner Sam Green. “Long-time favorite local musician Jimmy DeBlois will serenade the crowd from the balcony.”

DeBlois’ band, The Spokes, will be performing in the Weatherford Hotel on New Year’s Eve. In addition, local on-air personality Joe Harting will be announcing and playing music to the crowds.

The Great Pine Cone has become a New Year’s Eve tradition since 1999 when the Weatherford Hotel rang in the new millennium and honored the Weatherford Hotel’s 100-year anniversary. Since then, residents and visitors have gathered in the streets to celebrate the New Year and cheer on the Pine Cone lowering event.

“As the owners of the Weatherford Hotel, and the brain trust behind the Pine Cone Drop, Sam and Henry (Taylor) constantly carry the reverence of our past while dedicating themselves to improving the future of our beautiful downtown!” said Saville.

Flagstaff-area Pepsi trucks are donning banners announcing the Great Pine Cone Drop; meantime, commemorative Pine Cone Drop T-shirts are available for purchase in the Weatherford Hotel lobby.

For more information, log on to weatherfordhotel.com or Flagdba.com. YouTube videos offer a preview of the Weatherford Hotel’s New Year’s Eve Pine Cone Drop.

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