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December 31st, 2013—party night! Some cities celebrate New Year’s Eve in style:

  • Dubai sizzled for half an hour under the largest known fireworks display in the world.
  • New York City partied, as usual, under a glittering crystal ball that unleashed waves of confetti in Times Square.
  • Denverites counted down the minutes to a legal toke under a spectacular downtown fireworks display.

My town, ever proud of the Idaho Famous Potatoes logo, rolled out its first ever Idaho Potato Drop. Billed as “the most exciting New Year’s celebration our state has ever seen,” Boiseans were led to believe that a 16-foot-long artificial spud would drop from the top of the US Bank building which flanks the popular Grove Plaza. Instead, at the appointed time an over-sized crane parked in front of the building, began awkwardly hurking the bizarre baker 150 feet into the air while laser pointers poked fun at it from below. At 11:59 the spud began an equally slow and torturous descent to the ground.

Lordy. I can’t believe I watched the whole bloody thing. I was wedged into a wad of over 5,000 bundled bodies who waited for a beat for something more to happen before exploding into an oozing mass oozing in search of more worthy excitement. Frazzled radio station announcers pleaded with the crowd, “Wait—there’s more . . . ” But the crowd was having none of it. Even though I was standing within 20 feet of the miracle spud, I never saw the promised confetti. Mummers of, “Is that all there is?” followed me as I squeezed my way through the crush of disappointment.

The bands were good, the crowd was civil, and downtown Boise looked pretty with its Christmas finery and fire barrels stationed here and there to provide warmth. As far as I’m concerned this was the Great Potato Flop. Back to the drawing board.

(For a better look at the crappy pictures, just click the thumbnails.)