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Duluth unveils soaring surprise

Special Photo. Duluth unveils the soaring spirit ball at the countdown to the new year on Dec. 31.

Special Photo. Duluth unveils the soaring spirit ball at the countdown to the new year on Dec. 31.

DULUTH -- Duluth ushered in a new decade with a new tradition.

For the first time this New Year's Eve, the city hosted a countdown to midnight, unveiling a new icon atop a scaffold on the Town Green at an event attended by thousands Thursday night.

While most cities have objects that descend, like Atlanta's Peach Drop and Winder's new Jug Drop, Duluth's "soaring spirit ball" rose from the ground up at midnight.

Meant to match the city's new slogan, "Capture the Spirit of Good Living," the main component of the symbol is a 200-pound disco ball, the largest one ever made. The ball is adorned with wings.

According to a press release, the "ball" will change every year, and like this year's surprise, officials plan to keep the modifications under wraps until the clock strikes midnight at the beginning of each year.

"Let your Spirit Soar in 2010," the press release said.