New York City has its ball drop. Easton has its crab drop. And now, in its fourth year, Cambridge has its own New Year’s Eve drop — featuring a workboat. The New Year’s Eve Boat Drop will feature a replica of a trot-lining deadrise — a traditional waterman’s workboat — launched down more than 60 feet of track at midnight on Dec. 31. This year the event has been moved from Poplar Street to Gay Street next to the crab basket Christmas tree. Kids and “early risers” can experience the drop at 8PM while revelers will experience the traditional midnight countdown.
The boat, named in a competition in 2016 the “Groove City Lady”, is about 4 feet long and will be traveling at about 14 miles an hour when it hits bottom. As it’s coming down it will knock crabs off the line, which will be the “trot-lining” aspect. The boat travels on 60 feet of track, which will take 10 seconds or less to complete. “We wanted something different and relevant for the Eastern Shore, and in particular Dorchester County, and this is what we came up with,” said Cambridge native Brian Roche, who came up with the idea with Rob Kramer, a welder in Hurlock, and Scott Schilling, owner of Bay Country Communications. The idea behind the boat drop, Roche said, is not only to encourage people to come to downtown Cambridge and patronize the local businesses on New Year’s Eve (most of the restaurants will be open late), but also to bring the community together to celebrate.
Gay Street, next to the crab basket Christmas tree will be closed starting at 7:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. People are welcome to watch as the 60 feet of track is constructed the day before, Monday December 30th, starting at about 9:30 AM. The track will be disassembled on New Year’s Day near the Crab Basket Christmas Tree, another distinctively Dorchester holiday project that has quickly become a local tradition in its four years.
The boat drop project has been a labor of love. Bay Country Communications is sponsoring everything and their techs painted the track and practiced assembling and testing the drop in their warehouse. They’ll also be setting everything up on New Year’s Eve. Rob Kramer Welding in Hurlock engineered and built the replica boat and the track. B&B Auto Body painted the boat. Kevin Hill of Hill Kimmel Construction is lending his construction lift to raise the boat into the air. And various others—WHCP Radio, Cambridge Main Street, Dorchester Tourism, Mid Shore Graphics, downtown businesses, the City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department—are all helping with logistics and promotion.
For more information, visit downtowncambridge.org or call 443-477-0843.