ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A brand new year arrives in 72 days, and you can ring in 2016 in New Mexico with a chile drop. At the stroke of midnight, there will be more than one hot celebration featuring a chile, but only one person owns the trademark for this unique celebration.
The annual tradition in Times Square has inspired drops all over the country.
Las Cruces got a lot of attention with its chile drop welcoming 2015, and the city recently got protective when Santa Fe wanted to do a chile drop.
Nam Tran is the owner of the trademark for “New Year’s Eve Chile Drop.”
Tran, a hair salon owner, first held a chile drop in Albuquerque to welcome 2010. Another chile drop took place downtown at the Doubletree to usher in 2011. He believes the symbol could benefit all of New Mexico, not only Las Cruces.
“I don’t think it’s one singular city’s idea. I don’t think one city should have the hopes of just doing it,” he said.
He’s already working with Kaktus Brewing Company for a big bash in Nob Hill. Kaktus plans to open a second location at 2929 Monte Vista NE by the New Year.
“We’re looking forward to doing the chile drop with Nam as our grand opening. It will kind of be like a staple we hope to do year after year,” said Dana Koller, president of Kaktus Brewing Company.
Tran believes New Mexico can share the spicy celebration. He says for him, it’s not about making money off the idea, but it’s about benefiting his foundation called OCEF, which stands for Our Children’s Education First. Tran said he also works with Southwest Neighborhood Housing Services.
“I’m willing to license the trademark to whomever, to Las Cruces, to Santa Fe, to Albuquerque, again just to really bring the hopes and recognition this foundation,” he said.
Santa Fe has now abandoned the idea of having a chile drop in the Santa Fe Plaza this year. The celebration in Las Cruces will still go on.