Boat drop returns to Cambridge
The New Year’s Eve Boat Drop will feature a replica of a trot-lining deadrise — a traditional waterman’s workboat — launched down more than 60 feet of track at midnight on Dec. 31. The 500 block of Poplar Street will be closed from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the celebration.
CAMBRIDGE — New York City has its ball drop. Easton has its crab drop. And now, in its second year, Cambridge has its own New Year’s Eve drop — featuring a workboat.
The New Year’s Eve Boat Drop will feature a replica of a trot-lining deadrise — a traditional waterman’s workboat — launched down more than 60 feet of track at midnight on Dec. 31. The street will be closed from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the celebration in the 500 block of Poplar Street.
The boat, named in a competition in 2016 the Groove City Lady, is about 4 feet long and will be traveling at about 14 mph when it hits bottom. As it is coming down, it will knock crabs off the line, which will be the “trot-lining” aspect. The boat travels on 80 feet of track, 20 feet longer than last year, which will take 10 seconds or less.
“We wanted something dif ferent and relevant for the Eastern Shore, and in particular Dorchester County, and this is what we came up with,” said Cambridge native Brian Roche, who came up with the idea with Rob Kramer, a welder in Hurlock, and Scott Schilling, owner of Bay Country Communications.
The idea behind the boat drop, Roche said, is not only to encourage people to come to downtown Cambridge and patronize the local businesses on New Year’s Eve — most of the restaurants will be open late — but also to bring the community together to celebrate.
The 500 block of Poplar Street will be closed starting at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. People are welcome to watch as the 60 feet of track is constructed. The 500 block of Poplar is between Gay and High streets, near the Crab Basket Christmas Tree, another distinctively Dorchester holiday project that has become a local tradition in its three years.
The boat drop project has been a labor of love. Bay Countr y Communications is sponsoring everything, and its techs painted the track and practiced assembling and testing the drop in their warehouse.
They also will be setting everything up on New Year’s Eve. Rob Kramer Welding in Hurlock engineered and built the replica boat and the track. B&B Auto Body painted the boat. Kevin Hill of Hill Kimmel Construction is lending his construction lift to raise the boat into the air. And various others — WHCP Radio, Cambridge Main Street, Dorchester Tourism, Mid Shore Graphics, downtown businesses, the City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Police Department — are helping with logistics and promotion.
Visitors pack the 500 block of Poplar Street in Cambridge last year on New Year’s Eve for the inaugural New Year’s Eve Boat Drop.