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Our favorite PA Local stories of 2023

Plus, a look at New Year's Eve rituals across the state

Welcome to PA Local, a free weekly newsletter about the great people, amazing places, and delicious food of Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Spotlight PA staff

December 29, 2023
Inside this edition: PA Local's year in review. Thanks for checking in. We'll see you in 2024.
A Pennsylvania-centric trivia question.

Last year we asked you to name the Pennsylvania town that drops a bologna on New Year's Eve (it's Lebanon). This year we're asking you to name the town that drops a pair of pants when the clock strikes 12:

A. Lower Allen Township
B. Mechanicsburg
C. Dillsburg
D. Bethlehem

(Keep scrolling for the answer, but don't miss all the good stuff in between. Like what you read? Forward this email to a friend.)

LOCAL 2023

Editor's note: This space is being used this week to recall our favorite PA Local subjects of 2023. A Pa Local Wrapped, if you will. Send us ideas for 2024 here.

» Canceled by beavers: In January, we told you about the finale of one of Pa.'s best wildlife shows — a webcam on a log that produced incredible animal sightings before beavers did what beavers do.

» Symbolic struggles: In March, we took a rule-of-three look at efforts to reimagine Pennsylvania's official state song, flag, and license plate design. We even had a lawmaker sing to us over the phone.

» Crying town: In April, we wrote about Easton's very slow-going search for a town crier and tracked the last one down for pointers. We also covered Erie's big plans for 2024's total eclipse.

» Rat queen: In May, Spotlight PA's Danielle Ohl interviewed podcast icon Sarah Marshall about Marshall's Philadelphia rat awakening and how roads so often lead back to Pennsylvania.

» Mushroom MacGyver: In June, we introduced you to William Padilla-Brown — a renaissance woodsman who says the cure for what ails us might just be living on the floor of your nearest Pennsylvania forest.

» Small drinks: In July, we went to Pittsburgh and inside the self-proclaimed smallest bar in Pennsylvania. We found that what it lacks in raw square footage, it makes up for in religious history.

» Club renaissance: In August, we watched Beyoncé fans in Pittsburgh console themselves over her canceled concert with a lively dance party where everyone was the star of the show.

» Cats and cannons: In September, Sara Stewart wrote about a most unusual Gettysburg museum where Civil War history is told via handmade, clay cat figurines — 8,000 of them and counting.

» The firewomen: In October, we told you about a century-old Centre County fire department's first all-female attack line and how women are becoming more and more common in the field.

» Making waves: And in November, we went to one of the last-remaining waterbed stores as it rode the wave of a viral TikTok introducing a whole new demographic to the concept of sleeping on liquid.

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We are quickly running out of time to hit this critical milestone. We need your help to continue to provide this unique, insightful journalism for Pennsylvania throughout 2024.  Make a tax-deductible gift to Spotlight PA today and it will be DOUBLED thanks to a generous matching grant.

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🏆 PA POP QUIZ: Did you stay on top of the news this week? Prove it with the latest edition of The Great PA News Quiz:
The top stories published by Spotlight PA this week.
» How public funds helped revitalize a Pennsylvania Wilds town

» Why Pa. lawmaker salaries now top $106K 

» Inside the Pa. court case pitting a genealogist against Ancestry.com

» Pa. legislature approves study of 911 in mental health emergencies

 "I once spent a year in Philadelphia. I think it was on a Sunday."

A quote (and NYT crossword clue) attributed to comedian and native son W.C. Fields, who frequently ribbed Philly in his act — and his fictional epitaph

Our favorite reader-submitted photo of the week.
White peafowl from Paxson Hill Farm in New Hope, via Claire G. Have a photo you want to share with the whole state? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag @spotlightpennsylvania.
A white bird grazing in grass.
Spotlight PA's exclusive Pennsylvania tote bag
Our Famous Tote is Back!

Our oversized, zip-top tote bag is back and on sale now for the first time ever! Featuring custom artwork designed exclusively for Spotlight PA by a Pennsylvania artist. Order yours now »

All proceeds benefit Spotlight PA's vital, nonprofit journalism.
The answer to this week's Pennsylvania-centric trivia question.

Lower Allen Township in Cumberland County drops a four-foot sculpture of yellow pants or "breeches" on New Year's Eve. Billy Penn reported last year that "the ritual pays homage to the nearby Yellow Breeches Creek."

As for the other options at the top of this page: Mechanicsburg drops a big wrench, Dillsburg drops a pickle, and Bethlehem drops a Peep

Thanks for reading. We'll see you back here next year.

Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

Copyright © Spotlight PA. All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box #11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


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