"Mad Potter" Steve Barney created this giant oyster which now sits atop 200 North Beach Restaurant in Bay St. Louis in anticipation of New Year's Eve. As the clock counts down toward 2020, the oyster will drop, triggering lighting effects and fireworks.

Bay St. Louis will celebrate New Year's Eve on the half-shell, ringing in 2020 with fireworks, a bonfire and the city's first-ever "Oyster Drop."

The oyster -- which now sits atop 200 North Beach Restaurant on Beach Boulevard in Old Town -- was created by local artist and "Mad Potter" Steve Barney at the request of developer Jim MacPhaille.

"Jim MacPhaille was kind of keeping it under wraps," Barney said Friday. "Larry Smith (Ward 4 city councilman) called me some time before Thanksgiving and said 'Could you build an oyster for a local businessman?' Jim had been looking around New Orleans for someone to build it for him. Of course, I know Jim, but he didn't realize we could build it locally.

"Larry Smith called me the Blaine Kern of Bay St. Louis, so we can build anything we want."

Barney said they oyster was carved from a 4x8 block of styrofoam with a Sawzall knife.

"It's overall dimension is seven feet tall by three feet wide, and it sits on top of an eight-foot pole which extends to 20 feet tall for New Year's Eve," Barney said.

The pole extension is operated by a pneumatic pump, he said.

"On New Year's Eve, I will be on the roof and when Jim tells me, I will open up the valve. We timed it -- it takes 45 seconds to drop down, and then that's going to trigger some lighting effects and the fireworks in the harbor."

The event is free and everyone is welcome. For more information, visit www.baystlouis-ms.gov.

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