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The Pine Cone

Flagstaff's Great Pinecone Drop in 2014. Courtesy photo 

SUNDAY | 12.31


Flagstaff isn’t the only place with an interesting New Year’s Eve countdown tradition. In Key West, Fla., they drop a drag queen named Sushi in a giant red stiletto. Slightly to the north in Mt. Olive, N.C., they drop a three-foot picket down a flagpole and then in Bethlehem, Pa, home to Just Born candy manufacturer, they drop a giant 85-pound multi-colored Peep.  Of course, here in Flag, we drop a six-foot, 70-pound lighted aluminum pinecone, and if you’ve been in the downtown area recently, you’ve probably seen it hanging off the roof of the Weatherford Hotel. The history of the pinecone dates back to 1999 and, like all good ideas, it started out as a joke. “We were kicking around the idea of doing something to celebrate the day and somebody mentioned the fact that ‘Well, we ought to drop a pinecone off the roof,’” said owner Henry Taylor in an interview with NBC 12 News of Arizona. “Of course, we all laughed and didn’t think much about it until about a week later we started thinking, 'Well, why not?' And so Sam, my wife, went to work fabricating a pinecone out of materials we had in the basement. And we rigged up some pulleys and ropes off the roof and lit it with Christmas tree lights. And New Year’s Eve – I don’t like to use the word 'drop' – we lowered it off the roof." And since then, Flagstaff’s annual Great Pinecone Drop has become its New Year’s tradition, even when the weather doesn’t permit. “The worst I think the weather was that I can remember was when it was 30 below zero on the roof that night. It was brutal,” said Taylor. “We’ve had pretty big snowstorms that come in and hit the eve, New Year’s Eve and we wonder 'Well, should we do it?' and it seems the worse the weather, the more people want to come out. The more snow it is, the better it is." Ring in the New Year with a decade-long Flag tradition at the Great Pinecone Drop at the Weatherford Hotel.  Though there is no snow in the forecast, the weather is predicted to get down to a chilly 20 degrees, so bring warm clothes and holiday cheer. The event is free and open to the public. More information at

FRIDAY | 12.29


Admit it. You still know all the words to old Taking Back Sunday songs and will sing them at the top of your lungs if given the opportunity. Take an angsty trip down memory lane this weekend with the debut of Emo Night FLG. DJ sets by Buddy Nielsen from Senses Fail, Daylight Heist (hosts of Emo Night PHX), Emmett White and Billie Crystal 182 aka Sean Meehan will feature some of your favorite emo tracks from your favorite emo bands. They don’t make music like this anymore. Stop by the Green Room, 15 N. Agassiz St., for a dose of nostalgia brought to you by the Eagle Rocks, 103.7 FM and 97.9 FM.

SUNDAY | 12.31


After releasing their second album The Hierophant earlier this year in June, Jerusafunk produced a music video for their song, “Respect My Lust,” featuring a dancing Jesus and a couple of sadomasochistic priests. And if you’re unfamiliar with the eight-piece, self-proclaimed “first and only Klezploitation band,” the video and song are a wonderfully wild introduction to Jerusafunk’s unholy groovy tunes. “It’s klezmer, but with a little funk in the trunk,” says the band on Facebook. Jerusafunk’s origins begin in Flagstaff, where Jessie Demaree and Chris Del Favero attended Northern Arizona University. After a two-year stint in South America, Demaree and Del Favero relocated to Phoenix and quickly started up the band again. “This music culture we have in Phoenix has been more interesting than some of the other music cultures we experienced while we were traveling. It's just a lot more progressive and has a lot more ballsy initiative," said Del Favero in an interview with Phoenix New Times. Catch the return of the Flagstaff and Valley favorite and ring in the New Year at the Green Room’s New Year’s Eve party, also featuring back-to-back DJ action from Jeremiah Green and Emmett White. The party begins at 8 p.m. with no cover. More information at

Polar plunge

Polar Plunge 2017. Photo by Jake Bacon

MONDAY | 1.1


The end of the year is a time for reflection. What do you want to change in your life to have a better experience in the next 365 days? You probably won’t come up with any earthshaking epiphanies by doing the same things, so why not challenge yourself? No matter your goals for 2018, shake off your post-New Year’s hangover for a  clear start with a cold, refreshing slap in the face by participating in the annual Polar Plunge at the Upper Lake Mary Boat Launch & Picnic Area. A Flagstaff tradition, folks gather the first day of the new year to take a dip in the often-frozen lake where a hole has been sawed in the ice.Participants this year may be getting off easy due to the unseasonably warm weather and lack of ice, but they’ll still receive a survivor certificate. Canned food donations will also be collected for the Flagstaff Family Food Center. Bring swim wear, water shoes or sandals, a towel and something dry to put on afterward. We can personally attest that it’s worth the few seconds of shock just for the boasting rights and reactions when retelling the story to others. Can you handle a little bit of cold water? We double dog dare you—be there at noon or be square.



Based on what we know about the Vikings, they were a hardcore group of warriors who like to fight and drink. They also played games, although injury and death were common during their rough play. One of their sports was called toga honk, or tug-of-war. It’s not completely known how they played it, but one accepted theory is that it consisted of two competitors seated on the ground with bent legs and their feet braced on each other. They held onto a rope and tried to knock their opponent over as they straightened their legs. Trail Crest Brewing Company, 1800 S. Milton Road, will be hosting Drinking Horn Meadery for a tasting of the Viking libation from 6-7 p.m. and then a toga honk competition from 7-8:30 p.m. The winner will receive a Drinking Horn mug and there will be other prizes for second and third place. 


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