New Mexico

Las Cruces Chile Drop draws national attention as New Year's Eve celebration

Thousands attend Chile Drop

Las Cruces Chile Drop 2016

EL PASO, Texas - The third Las Cruces Chile Drop drew thousands to the Plaza de Las Cruces for a New Year’s Eve celebration.

Russ Smith is chair of Project Main Street and host of the Chile Drop.

“The Plaza de Las Cruces is a great platform for a party,” Smith said. “This location is so much better than in the past, when we have been on Main street and there was a street closure. It was a confined area, and this opens it up.”

The star of show was the giant chile that dropped 100 feet from a crane. It was covered in white lights that turned green at midnight.

This was Claude Edwards first time at the chile drop.

“I think it’s great," Edwards said. "I heard on the radio that they were having a pineapple drop in Florida. So, instead here we use a chile."

KVIA ABC 7’s very own Jamie Warren was the grand marshal.

There was fun for the entire family. There were food trucks, a beer garden and free party favors.

The band Caliente lured people to the dance floor.

 The party brought Las Cruces native Abel Villalobos back home with his family for a visit.

“I live in Houston now and you can’t get chile like you do in New Mexico," Villalobos said. "So for me, driving all the way down here to eat some food and figure out if the chile is going to be red or green this year makes for a new activity to do with our family and friends."

The newspaper USA Today took notice in a recent article on New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country. 

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