Atlanta New Year's Eve Peach Drop canceled due to COVID spike

The increase in COVID-19 cases means an Atlanta tradition is off. Atlanta city officials said there will be no Peach Drop on New Year's Eve to ring in 2022.

The owners of Underground Atlanta released a statement saying the 2021-22 New Year's Peach Drop is officially canceled. 

Officials cited a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant. It's the third consecutive year the event has been canceled.

Lalani Ventures released the following statement:

"Due to the rising number of Covid cases, the City is canceling the Peach Drop at Underground. While we are saddened to miss this year's party and musical acts, we are very excited to bring the Peach Drop back next year better than ever."

Since 1989, the Peach Drop has been Atlanta's way to celebrate the New Year. Tens of thousands of people gather around to watch a huge peach slowly drop at the stroke of midnight. But for the second year in a row, the pandemic is putting a halt to the program.

Last week, the City of Atlanta reinstated its indoor mask mandate

"In consultation with public health officials, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the Peach Drop," said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. "As positive COVID-19 cases rise, I encourage everyone to be safe, get vaccinated and follow CDC guidelines."

Event organizers were hopeful the signature New Year's event would return to bring in 2022. 

In 2019, the city of Atlanta canceled the event due to location challenges. It was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Officials announced Grammy Award-winning singer Ashanti was supposed to headline the festival. 

An Atlanta City Council panel in November approved the funding to stage the party to be held at its old location, Underground Atlanta downtown. 

Safety was at the top of lawmakers' minds, with some members immediately asking the city event director about planning, following the fatal crowd incident in Texas involving the same production company putting on the Underground celebration.

"It's disappointing given that it's outside and I think people have learned to manage living with COVID at this point," said Kevin Robinson who was walking through Underground Atlanta with his daughter, Brook, just hours after the announcement.

Robinson believes the decision should have been left up to New Year's revelers.  

"Those who want to should have the opportunity to celebrate as they deem appropriate and those who don't can find other things to do," said Robinson.

The last time Tracey Stokes went to the Peach Drop was in 2010. He remembers the huge crowds and understands why it had to be canceled this year with the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

"It's bad news and good news. Bad news we can't have it good news we're being safe," said Stokes.

Still, missing out on this Atlanta tradition is disappointing.

"It is sad because that's Atlanta, the Peach Drop is Atlanta!" said Cache Winston.

Atlanta isn't alone. Other cities across the country and around the world have canceled or scaled back New Year's Eve events.