Can't make it to NYC? Try the Little Apple in Manhattan, Kan.

Friday, December 31, 2004

The Associatd Press

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- New York, eat your heart out. So goes the message from this Midwest town known as the Little Apple, where a New Year's event modeled after the one in Times Square is planned.

Organizers of the second annual Little Apple New Year's Eve Celebration and Ball Drop expect attendance to balloon this year.

Their "eat your heart out" slogan goes along with a marketing strategy focused on locals accustomed to celebrating the holiday wherever Kansas State University is playing in a bowl game. For the first time in 11 years, the Wildcats football team is absent from the New Year's Day bowl lineup.

Kate Watson, an organizer of the Little Apple celebration, said there has been a 70 percent increase in traffic this year at the event's Web site. She's hoping last year's crowd of 4,800 revelers will grow to 8,000.

A five-foot-diameter aluminum ball will be lowered at the New Year's Eve celebration from a 20-foot-tall marquee at a Manhattan bookstore.

It's reminiscent of the ball drop in the Big Apple, a Times Square tradition for nearly a century. But the crowd is expected to be just a tiny fraction of that in Times Square.

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