By Jason A. Smith
A holiday tradition will continue tonight in Henry County, as area residents kick off the new year at the drop of a nugget -- a chicken nugget.
Truett's Grill, a subsidiary of Chick-fil-A, located at 1785 Jonesboro Road in McDonough, will host the seventh annual 'Nugget Drop,' beginning at 6 p.m.
The event will be highlighted by a 400-pound, six-foot nugget made of plaster, descending into a large vat of Chick-fil-A smoked-mustard sauce, at midnight.
Josh Jones, assistant manager for the Truett's location, said tonight's occasion will feature children's games and activities, as well as festive entertainment in a family-friendly atmosphere.
"We have lots of Christian bands coming in to perform, and a couple of Christian comedians," Jones said.
Dave Stroup and Band, are scheduled to appear during the New Year's Eve celebration. The band will perform a variety of music including, contemporary Christian songs.
"Because we know it's not an all-Christian event, we're going to have something for everybody," Stroup said.
Dave Stroup will serve as master-of-ceremonies for the Nugget Drop festivities, which will include a nugget-eating competition and milkshake-drinking contest.
Stroup, who has coordinated the entertainment for Truett's holiday event for several years, describes the Nugget Drop as a "good, clean family way to bring in the new year."
"It truly is a service to our community, from Truett's," he said. "It's one of the biggest New Year's Eve celebrations south of Atlanta. It packs the parking lot. That's for sure."
Assistant manager Josh Jones said the Nugget Drop provides an alcohol-free alternative for New Year's Eve celebrations, in keeping with the ideals of Chick-fil-A's founder, Truett Cathy.
"We want to embody the values of Chick-fil-A," said Jones. "People know that we stand by those values. It's just a good, fun time."
Jones said last year's Nugget Drop drew approximately 4,000 to 5,000 area residents, for what has become a "well-known tradition" in Henry County.
After the stroke of midnight, Truett's will ring in the new year with a holiday fireworks display, sponsored by Emory Healthcare, according to the eatery's Unit Marketing Manager, Krissy Coen. She estimates tonight's attendance will be between 5,000 and 7,000 people, exceeding the audience total for 2009's Nugget Drop.
Coen said the event has developed a following over the years, and enables people to celebrate New Year's Eve, without having to go to Atlanta.
"It's a free event for families on the south side of town," Coen said. "We just wanted something fun on the south side, in a family environment. There are people that come every year, and never miss it," she said.
For more information, call Truett's Grill at (678) 432-2221.