Happy New Year, Folly Beach-style

Folly Beach hopes to launch its own New Year’s Eve tradition with the dropping of a pair of 8-foot-tall, lighted flip-flops.

FOLLY BEACH -- New York's Times Square has its huge lighted ball that drops to mark the beginning of each new year.

The city of Folly Beach hopes to one-up Times Square on New Year's Eve, and start a tradition of its own -- with the Giant Flip Flop Drop.

A pair of specially constructed, illuminated, 8-foot-tall flip-flops will be lowered Saturday night onto Center Street as revelers count down the last seconds of 2011.

Folly expects the street to be filled with celebrants from all over the Lowcountry and beyond welcoming in 2012.

"We hope its going to become a new tradition," said Charlotte Goodwin, one of a group of Folly residents who have been organizing for the flip-flop drop. Goodwin, the wife of Mayor Tim Goodwin, said she thought up the idea of descending flip-flops last New Year's Eve while watching the Times Square event.

Why flip-flops? "We all wear flip-flops on Folly," she said. "It's got to be pretty cold for us to put on shoes."

The mayor said Center Street, between Ashley and Cooper avenues, will be closed to motor vehicles beginning about 9 p.m. He said some parking areas will be off limits for the night to accommodate the event.

The glittering flip-flops and their red toe straps were test-dropped recently in a rehearsal for Saturday. A firetruck hoisted the flip-flops about 75 feet into the air for the run-through.

The Goodwins said a cadre of Folly residents designed, constructed and tested the flip-flops. The group includes Ken Hickman, Jim and Kathy Nicklaus and Trace and Kim Pupke.