Residents and officials of Temecula will greet 2023 Saturday evening with a salute to fruit, lowering a batch of grapes from the city’s clock tower to mark the final moments of the current year and welcome the New Year.

The annual “grape drop” celebration will begin at 6 p.m. in Town Square Park, which has undergone a temporary conversion to a Times Square-themed venue for celebrations on the last night of 2022.

There will be two grape drops — the first coinciding with the traditional extravaganza in New York City, and the second when the midnight hour approaches on the West Coast.

A large cluster of illuminated grapes, measuring 12-by-7 feet, will be gradually reeled down 65 feet from the third story of the Civic Center clock tower, marking the seconds before midnight.

The two countdown celebrations are open to the public outside Temecula City Hall and will feature live music, food vendors and children’s activities.

City officials are expected to stop in, and public safety personnel will be on hand. The party will wrap up about 1 a.m.

All of the grape drop celebrations, which began over a decade ago, have been in person except for the 2020-21 event, which was entirely virtual, broadcast via the city’s social media channels, because of the coronavirus public health lockdowns.

Temecula Valley is home to dozens of vintners, and grapes are the staple product.

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