Droz family

On New Year’s weekend, both The Wall Street Journal and ABC News featured an inspiring story and video about a 37-year-old tradition shared annually by Pittsburgh’s own Droz family.

In his story, Every Year, the Droz Family Scours America for the Best Road Sign to Make the Perfect New Year Card, reporter Ben Cohen explains:

“Since 1979, Dan Droz and his family have braved traffic police, bemused drivers and, once, the army, to find the ideal road sign that points to the coming year.”

People all over the world mail and even make their own holiday cards, but for the Droz family, this ritual has taken on a very creative and ambitious mission.

Writes Cohen:

“It’s what’s on their card that makes it curious. The Droz clan’s New Year’s card is more than a mere family portrait. It’s a family portrait underneath a sign that represents the road junction that corresponds with the coming year—like Route 17 for 2017. Their epic pursuit of the perfect card requires years of scouting, months of planning and hours of driving.”

Cohen goes on to chronicle the start of the tradition, which began in 1979, when Dan Droz—who runs a downtown Pittsburgh-based marketing agency—and was a single father with a young daughter.

Subsequent sign quests have led the Droz and his clan on many exciting adventures, including a run-in with a skeptical cop, confused card recipients, meeting his wife Cathy, studying Rand McNally atlases and Google Maps, long road trips, car honking, involving his four children and their growing families, and much more.

Read the entire story and see the Droz family New Year’s cards through the ages.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...