Published: 12:00 AM, Fri Dec 28, 2012
Eastover Flea Drop: Jump into the new year
By Brian Dukes
If the annual Eastover New Year's Eve Flea Drop is jumpin' this year, it's not because the fleas have returned.
"We're thinking we might have more people show up this year than last because there's no Dogwood drop at Festival Park this year," said Charles McLaurin, mayor of Eastover. "But we're excited the event has become more popular and has grown in just two years."
McLaurin is referring to the Party in the Park New Year's Eve celebration that occurred in Festival Park for three years. Organizers canceled the popular event, citing financial concerns.
That leaves Monday's Flea Drop as one of the main community New Year's Eve celebrations in the area, other than local bars and nightspots. It's a distinction that's embraced by the town's residents.
"We really want the Flea Drop to become a real Eastover tradition," said Robert Morris, president of the Eastover Civic Club.
To explain the event's unique name, Morris said that part of the area that now comprises Eastover used to be called Flea Hill. The unflattering name traces its origins to an old tale about an infestation of fleas in that area. The infestation was eradicated, but the name remained.
"The fleas are certainly gone, but the name has stuck," said Morris. "And now we've got a great, family event. Something neat for people to do on New Year's Eve."
When the event began, it drew a national crowd of curious onlookers and has continued to grow.
The Flea Drop, in its third year, is an alcohol-free event. It will begin at 10 p.m. at the Eastover Community Center and will feature musical entertainment by Kaja Blue, a local blues, classic rock and light rock band that will perform throughout the night. Admission is free.
At the stroke of midnight, the Living History & Associates war reenactment group will fire off a reproduction of an 1861 cannon to bring in 2013 with a bang.
There also will be refreshments of cookies, soft drinks and apple cider, a bonfire and a guest speaker who will talk about Eastover's heritage.
Staff writer Brian Dukes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3523.