Toledo’s Giant Cheese Ball Drops for New Year


The Toledo Boat Launch parking lot isn’t as glamorous as Times Square, but Toledo’s New Year’s Eve ball drop has a perk that New York’s doesn’t: you get to eat the ball after it descends. 

Well, not the whole ball — just the pieces of cheese taped to the outside. 

Toledo’s Giant Cheese Ball is, for practicality reasons, not made entirely of cheese. The ball is instead a 5-foot diameter inflatable, moon-themed plastic ball wrapped in cargo netting, 100 LED lights and 100 individually-wrapped pieces of Kraft and Tillamook cheeses. 

The inflatable ball was a replacement for the handmade chicken wire and paper mache ball made by Toledo resident and Morgan Art Center co-owner Mike Morgan for the first official New Year’s Eve Giant Cheese Ball Drop in 2017. 

Morgan came up with the idea while he was recovering from a foot surgery and was researching alternatives to his typical New Year’s Eve party, he told The Chronicle on Saturday. 

In his internet searching, he learned of small towns across the U.S. that did unique alternatives to the New Year’s Eve ball drop, such as a town in Idaho that dropped a potato and a town in North Carolina that, until recently, lowered a live possum to mark the new year. 

Since Toledo is known for its summer Cheese Days festival, Morgan put his talent of creating cheese balls to use and created Toledo’s first Giant Cheese Ball with the help of his wife and business partner, Di Morgan. 

After the success of the first cheese drop in 2017, event organizers purchased the reusable inflatable ball in 2018. 

This year marked the fifth dropping of the Giant Cheese Ball, but was the first time in several years that the ball was dropped on New Year's Eve. 

The ball drop to usher in 2021 was canceled due to COVID-19, and the 2022 ball drop was delayed to the Fourth of July due to icy conditions on New Year’s Eve. 

“Di and I were very pleased with the turnout of over 150 people,” Mike Morgan wrote of Saturday’s event, “It was truly a family affair and a lot of fun.”

The Morgans thanked Chuck Caley, John Sanford, Mike Fisher and Toledo Mayor Steve Dobosh, as well as vision:Toledo, the Toledo Lions Club and the City of Toledo for their help putting on the event.