Rupert, Idaho, to Ring in New Year with Giant Beet

Published online: Dec 24, 2021 News Laurie Welch
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Source: The Times-News

New Year’s Eve revelers will gather for the third year on the historic town square of Rupert, Idaho, for a party to watch a giant lighted sugarbeet—named Crystal—descend from the sky.

The event will include live music, food, fireworks and a beer garden.

Crystal, which has become a Rupert year-end icon, is 28 feet tall, including the leaves, and 12 feet in diameter.

Rick Hall, with Barclay Cranes, supplies the crane to lift the beet into the sky.

“We couldn’t do it without him,” Ryan McEuen, one of the party coordinators from Gem State Entertainment, said.

At midnight the beet will drop until it touches the ground, and fireworks will begin to explode, McEuen said.

Rupert, which has a state designation of Christmas City, has its central park decorated for the holidays, where people can gather.

“People need to come with their smiles on,” McEuen said. “We are really lucky to have Rupert as our home.”

McEuen said more and more people are coming to Rupert for the beet drop each year.

“Even our attendance numbers last year were good,” McEuen said about 2020, when the pandemic had shut down many events. “We were just a little more spread out.”

Mike Christensen, McEuen’s partner in Gem State Entertainment, built the beet from steel and perforated metal. Now he says it’s rewarding to see how the community has responded to the event.

“It’s been pretty cool,” Christensen said. “It’s been a real conversation starter or ender, depending on how you look at it.”

Christensen, who owns Christensen Machine Inc., had his work crew build the beet.

“The whole team has felt satisfaction from being a part of something so many people enjoy,” he said.

The event, he said, gives people in the area something to do and it has grown in size each year.

“It’s been so much fun,” Christensen said.

At 6:50 p.m. Grace Church Pastor Travis Taylor will say an opening prayer. Live music will begin at 7 p.m. with Rupert Grace Church Band.

Gigglemug, of Seattle, who is a singer and songwriter will perform at 8 p.m., Cliftonite Acoustics, from McCall, will perform at 9:15 p.m. and headliners Royals Bliss, a band from Salt Lake City that plays traditional American rock music, will take the stage at 10:30 p.m.

It will be family-friendly for all ages and there is free admission. Ridley’s Family Markets will be on the square selling plates of food, which include a choice of barbecue entrees—brisket or pulled pork—and there will be a burger truck, Cozy Coffee and specialty popcorn available for purchase.

There will also be a beer garden, hosted by the Drift Inn.

“People will not be able to get into the beer garden or the Drift Inn after 8 p.m. if they are not 21 years old or over,” McEuen said.