Thursday, January 1, 2015

Why is the MoonPie Drop not in Chattanooga, Tennessee?

The perfect snack: a MoonPie and a Coke
On January 1, 2015, my husband and I began talking about the Coca-Cola drop that had occurred in downtown Chattanooga the previous night (New Year’s Eve). The 2014 ChattaNew Year celebration held at the DoubleTree Hotel on Chestnut Street featured the first ever drop of a 12 foot tall LED-lit Coca-Cola bottle. This led to a discussion of why we have not been dropping a MoonPie since it is made in Chattanooga. Granted, Chattanooga is the home of the first bottled Coke, but MoonPies were created in and are still made in Chattanooga. After a quick Google search, we discovered Mobile, Alabama has that claim to fame. We both looked at each other and asked...why Mobile, Alabama?

The MoonPie was created in 1917 when Chattanooga Bakery salesman Earl Mitchel was asked for a snack “as big as the moon”.  The bakery created the wonderful graham cracker sensation and named it the MoonPie. The Moonpie was quickly a favorite of coal miners and from that small start it grew to become an integral part of American history.

 At 5 cents a pie, the MoonPie was able to survive and thrive during the Great Depression. Then, as the depression kids began fighting in the front lines of World War II, the treat was sent to them in care-packages across Europe. In 1956, Mobile, Alabama began throwing MoonPies from floats during their traditional Mardi Gras celebrations. This tradition spread across Mississippi Gulf Coast to Slidell, Louisiana which has a parade by “The Krewe (parade participants) of Mona Lisa and Moon Pie”.  Finally, the MoonPie is traditionally used during commemoration celebrations of the Apollo 11 moon walk. Even with all this information the question is still unanswered. Why Mobile, Alabama?

According to Fox 6 News in Mobile, Alabama, the tradition started in 2008. City Councilman Fred Richardson thought it would be a great idea to have a New Year’s Eve celebration by dropping something. Due to MoonPie’s being a Mardi Gras throw, Mobile is the largest per-capita purchaser of MoonPies. This makes it the perfect selection as the unique drop. They built a 12-foot, 350 pound MoonPie and began dropping it from a crane on the waterfront. By 2014, the MoonPie had moved to being dropped off of the RSA Trustmark building that dominates the Mobile skyline and is referred to as “MoonPie over Mobile”.  Apparently Chattanooga bakery approves of this drop, since they provide a giant MoonPie for festival goers to feast on. Although I appreciate the history of the MoonPie in Mobile, Alabama, I think we should bring the MoonPie drop to Chattanooga. That way we can enjoy two hometown favorites on New Year’s Eve, a coke and a MoonPie.

Thanks for reading. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think about moonpies and coca-colas.