"Our goal is to top New York," said Kesshia Peyton.
One of Peyton's favorite roles as director of marketing and communications for the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau is the chance to work on "MoonPie Over Mobile," a special New Year's Eve celebration that has revolutionized the mid-sized city.
On Dec. 31, 2007, a mere 500 people rang in the new year with the city of Mobile, a number that has exploded since City Councilman Fred Richardson decided the city should drop a MoonPie just as New York City drops its famous Times Square ball.
On Dec. 31, 2008, 15,000 people to give the idea a try. Five-thousand more came the following year.
Now, thanks to a partnership with Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), that number is expected to skyrocket.
"We're hoping to double that, if not more than that," Peyton said.
The unique event has garnered international attention, with more than 200 media outlets covering the 2010 festivities.
Good ol' word of mouth is also helping.
Liz Nelson, a digital media producer in Mobile, is returning for a third year and bringing her cousin from Pelham, AL, with her.
"We're the only place on Earth that does a MoonPie drop," Nelson said.
She loves that the celebration keeps growing every year.
In years past, the MoonPie was dropped from a crane. This year, it will descend from atop a new home - the 34-story RSA BankTrust Building, Mobile's tallest skyscraper.
"Within a minute that the MoonPie drops, there's going to be a laser show and a fireworks display," Peyton said.
The state-of-the-art laser show, which is funded by the RSA, will be accompanied by not one, but four synchronized fireworks shows.
Organizers are excited the event will bring attention to the RSA's home state.
"All eyes will be on Mobile this New Year's Eve," said RSA Chief Executive Officer Dr. David G. Bronner. "The new laser show on our building will be a real showstopper."
It is hoped that Mobile will one day be as much of a go-to destination at New Year's Eve as New York City, and that the MoonPie drop will be broadcast across major television networks.
"Every year, it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger," Peyton said.
For now, the focus is on claiming the niche within Mobile's time zone.
"In the central time zone, there's lots of fireworks, but nothing major," Richardson said.
As far as he's concerned, Mobile easily outpaces Chicago.
"The focus is on Mobile," he said. "This is where it's going to be."
This year's drop will kick off at 11 p.m. Rock & Roll Hall of Famers the O'Jays will perform their international hits, including "Love Train" and "Use Ta Be My Girl."
For Richardson, "MoonPie Over Mobile" most closely pairs with the O'Jays' classic "Give the People What They Want."
"If there's someone out there who wants to be thrilled and dazzled on the New Year, Mobile is the place to be," Richardson said. "They're going to find out we're going to give the people what they wanted."