EASTON — Early in the evening on New Year’s Eve, a group of approximately 25 friends in Easton gathered to say good riddance to 2020 and burn away all its trials and tribulations.

While there was no live, in-person crab drop this year in Easton for First Night Talbot, many still wanted to recognize the beginning of a new year.

Some of them gathered in Easton for a New Year’s Eve effigy event to burn away the year 2020.

“And again I want to clear the air of 2020 and make space for 2021. Like a lot of 2020 it could burn slowly and painfully. We could have several attempts. There could be mistakes, but I just want to wish everyone a Happy New Year,” said Jessica Bellis, as a half moon shape of masked participants waited for the fire to be lit.

With a garden hose at the ready, Al Bond doused gas all over the homemade paper mache statue. He asked if anyone had a light after he had soaked 2020. Gingerly he returned to the side of the effigy and struck the lighter. A small flame began and the crowed was thrilled. Soon after it started, the fire was finished off with bright firecrackers and then everyone promptly went home.

No hugs. No champagne glasses clinking. No clocks striking midnight or accompanying kisses. Everyone in masks. This was New Year’s Eve in the time of COVID. There were no crowds in New York’s Times Square or town squares across the Shore.

The small Easton event featured a two-foot by five-foot effigy was defined by two golden numbers twos, each followed by a zero that was made to resemble a coronavirus cell.

The symbolic event in Easton came on a New Year’s Eve where many traditional events across the Shore and U.S. were held virtually or cancelled because of the virus. First Night Talbot and the traditional crab drop, for example, was held virtually.

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