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Chester County Press

Revelers greet 2022 at the Mushroom Drop in Kennett Square

01/04/2022 01:30PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The prediction of rain showers did nothing to deter plans for the ninth annual New Year’s Eve Mushroom Drop in Kennett Square. 
Kathi Lafferty, the chairperson for the event, said she was ready to go no matter what came from the sky during the evening. Expressing her excitement about being back in the center of the borough after last year’s abbreviated event down Broad Street, she said that was all she needed.
“I feel great,” she said. “I’ve seen rain, and I’ve seen cold. The rain’s supposed to hold off ‘til midnight.” She said this at approximately 7 p.m.
As it turned out, the air was misty and warm, but the showers never arrived – not even at midnight when the massive, lighted mushroom descended at the intersection of State and Union streets to welcome 2022.
Afterward, Lafferty said she was thrilled about how it turned out, given the chaotic year of political unrest and COVID restrictions that had just passed.
 “I thought it was great,” Lafferty said. “Everyone was happy, and that was the most important part. People were so excited and many came from far away—like from New York. Some people who came to see Longwood Gardens said they stayed over for the Mushroom Drop.”
It was a long evening considering that the planners wanted to engage families including small children who go to bed early as well as adult revelers later on.
At 8 p.m., the entertainment started in the fenced corral in the middle of town with music including singing by Kevin Pierce and Jack Marshall and dancing by the performers from KMC Dance and Gymnastics.  
The mushroom was sitting alongside the entertainers for everyone to see at the early show. It was ceremonially lifted several stories high by Bob’s Crane at 9 p.m. in preparation for its big moment later on.
Meanwhile, in the intervening hours, the band the Funsters played on with a show that featured laser lights. A crowd of about 1,500 assembled gradually.
Lafferty said she was especially pleased with the band this year and had seldom seen performers generate this much enthusiasm, especially among a young-adult audience.
As midnight arrived, the Master of Ceremonies, Tom Lafferty, led the spectators in a countdown. The mushroom was lowered gently to the street, and cheering broke out along with the playing of “Sweet Caroline” and “Auld Lang Syne.”
Bob’s Crane principal Rich Nichols took hold of the mushroom after it arrived and led it hanging through the crowd for their touches and embraces. Some people even lifted up their small children to touch it for a photo opportunity.
Police reported to Lafferty that the whole event went smoothly, and there were no incidents. 
The crowd swelled at the last minute as diners from La Verona restaurant came out to join the revelers while the mushroom descended.
Without a formal counting, the crowd numbered about 1,500, with many of them bringing canned goods as contributions for the local food cupboard. 
This is the ninth year for the Mushroom Drop event, which was conceived and carried out by Lafferty and her committee. She also headed up the annual Mushroom Festival for years, turning it into a nationally recognized agricultural fair that approximately 100,000 people each year.
Lafferty also owns and operates The Mushroom Cap, a Kennett Square shop along State Street that sells mushrooms and products related to mushrooms.