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Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan has a fondness for Maine’s peculiar goings on. And helmet cams. There’s definitely a fondness for helmet cams.   Since she arrived in Maine 10 years ago, it’s been her mission to experience it all firsthand – from the cardboard boat races to the paddleboard jousting tournaments. With any luck, she’ll persuade you to try it, too.

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Posted: December 18, 2015

Bring on 2016: New Year’s Eve events in Maine

From galas and dancing to hikes, bonfires and polar dips, this New Year’s Eve has something just for you.

Written by: Shannon Bryan

NYE DINNERS: Maine restaurants serve up special menus for New Year’s Eve

NYE for Kids: New Year’s Eve events for families and the early-to-bed set

NYE Music: Live Music on New Year’s Eve in Portland



NRCM’s Polar Bear Dip and Dash

11 a.m. (5K), noon (dip), Back Cove and East End Beach, Portland. $35.
Prepare for the new year by washing away the old one with a cleansing – and cold! – dip into the frigid Atlantic. The Natural Resources Council of Maine’s Polar Bear Dip and Dash includes a 5K around Back Cove before participants sprint into the water at East End Beach. The $35 entry fee includes the run and the dip, but you can also choose to do just one or the other. And depending on how your New Years Eve festivities go, you might want to take another cleansing dip on New Years Day in Old Orchard Beach during the annual Lobster Dip, which benefits Special Olympics Maine.

New Years Portland

51 Wharf, Bonfire, Dusk, Fore Play, The Drink Exchange, $35 all-access general admission, $70 VIP line skip all-access admission.
Why pick just one place to hang out all night? It’s New Year’s Eve – you should have options! New Years Portland includes parties at no less than five venues in the Old Port. There’s Glitz and Glamour at 51 Wharf, Kickin’ Country New Years Eve at Bonfire, a party at Dusk, an 80s & 90s Lounge, 20th Anniversary New Year’s Eve Party at Fore Play, Midnight Stock Market Crash at The Drink Exchange and Red Bull’s 7th Annual NYE 2016 Kickoff Party, which starts the evening off at 8 p.m., also at 51 Wharf. One ticket gets you into all the parties. FMI or to buy tickets:


9:30 p.m. (doors at 9 p.m.), SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. $8 in advance, $10 night of.
It’s a New Year’s Eve masquerade ball, with God.Damn.Chan., Don Damiani, Che Ros and Jaw Gems. Come masked and ready to dance.

Comedian Bob Marley

7 p.m. (shows Dec. 26, 27 & 30 also). $50.50. Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland.
Life isn’t always a laughing situation. Times get tough, budgets get tight. But who wants to think about that nonsense on New Year’s Eve? Take a load off for once and laugh the hassles of 2015 right out the door. Comedian Bob Marley is hosting this holiday show for the 16th year, which means the whole “laugh in the new year” concept must be working. Shows on Dec. 26, 27 and 30 as well.

South Portland

Diamonds & Ice New Year’s Eve

6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., Marriott Sable Oaks, 200 Sable Oaks Dr, South Portland. $89.
Start the evening with a cocktail hour from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m, followed by a buffet dinner and then dancing to the Bob Charest Band and DJ Brian Zutter from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. There will be late-night snacks to keep up your energy and a champagne toast at midnight.

New Year’s Eve on Broadway

6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Easy Day, 725 Broadway, South Portland. $50.
Of course there’s a champagne toast at midnight, appetizers and dinner and live music from the Larry Williams Band. But this NYE celebration includes a night of bowling, too (because it’s at a bowling alley!). Dress festive, black tie optional (and something you can bowl in).


Clam Drop New Year’s Eve

The clam drops at 7 p.m., First Universalist Church, 97 Main St., Yarmouth. Free.
Forget midnight ball drops – there’s a clam drop to mark midnight at the First Universalist Church in Yarmouth. You might recognize Steamer, the Yarmouth Clam Festival mascot, as he’s lowered from the church belfry (his lively smile never wavers, despite his precarious position). Music, hot cocoa and cookies, to boot.


New Year’s at the Hut

Dinner at 6 p.m., stay overnight | Stratton Brook Hut, Flagstaff Hut & Poplar Hut, Maine Huts & Trails, Kingfield | $120 adults, $60 for 17 and under |
Get out of dodge for the new year. Like way out. Leave the car at the trailhead and hike, snowshoe, or ski the trail to either Stratton Brook Hut, Poplar Hut or Flagstaff Hut in Kingfield. Relax by the fireplace and enjoy a festive four-course meal of locally sourced ingredients and a champagne toast (beer and wine available for purchase or BYOB). In the morning, you’ll be treated to a home-cooked breakfast and get a packed trail lunch for your first-day-of-2016 adventuring.

Old Orchard Beach

Last Blast Bonfire Beach Party

Starting at 5 p.m. (fireworks at 7 p.m.), Town Square and on the beach, Old Orchard Beach.
Maybe it’s the beach bonfire, maybe it’s the ride on the carousel, or maybe you just want to welcome 2016 while eating kettle corn and drinking hot cocoa near the arcade (the arcade will be open 3:30 to 8:30 p.m.). Whatever the reason, Last Blast celebrates the new year in true OOB style. Bring your Christmas tree to add to the bonfire, stay for some marshmallow roasting and catch the fireworks at 7 p.m.


New Year’s Eve Celebration at L.L. Bean

11 a.m. to 6 p.m., L.L. Bean, Freeport. Free.
It’s a “KidNight Celebration” at L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport. And by “KidNight” I think they mean both “children” and “those of us who find it hard to stay awake past 8:30 p.m., regardless of whether or not kids are involved.” Music from Rick Charette and fireworks display at 6 p.m.


New Year Gorham

Activities throughout the day, various locations, Gorham. $5 lanyard, $20 family package.
It’s a New Year’s Eve celebration for the whole family, with ice skating, magic shows, comedy, puppets, line dancing, food, games and music throughout the day at various locations throughout town. Fireworks take over the skies over Gorham High School at 9 p.m. Buy lanyards at Gorham Hannaford or the Gorham Rec. Dept. ($20 family packages only available at Gorham Rec. Dept.)

New Year’s Eve on the mountains

2016 is all downhill from here. Assuming, of course, you celebrated New Year’s Eve on a hill. A big one. Maine’s mountains are ringing in the new year with night skiing, fireworks and festivities. At Sunday River, ride the Chondola up to Peak Lodge for a mountain-top dining experience. Sugarloaf is celebrating with a Masquerade Ball, a magic show and fireworks.
New Year’s Eve at Sunday River
Night skiing, twin zips, snow tubing, a PG-13 New Year’s Eve party, Peak Party at 2,100 feet, fireworks, music at the foggy goggle.

New Year’s Eve at Sugarloaf

Family activities, Alex the Jester, fireworks, masquerade ball.


Dickie Hyper-Hynie’s Rockin’ New Years Eve

7:30 p.m. (sold out) and 10:30 p.m., Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center, 280 Water St., Gardiner. $15.
This family-friendly variety show features comedy, juggling, dancing, music and “really, really bad magic.” A host of guests will take the stage along with Dickie Hyper Hynie (a character created and performed by Mike Miclon).


Downtown Countdown in Bangor

Most events begin at 8 p.m., multiple locations, Bangor.
The ball drops at midnight in Westmarket Square, where the crowd will gather to hear some live tunes and to welcome in 2016. At various venues around town, there will be music, comedy, crown building (yes, crown building) and more.


New Year’s By The Bay, Belfast

2 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., downtown Belfast. $18 (19+), $15 seniors, $5 (ages 5-18), under 5 free |
It’s a chem-free and family friendly NYE in downtown Belfast, with several venues hosting live entertainment throughout the evening – music, storytelling, juggling, magic, performance and more. The venues are all within walking distance of each other, so you can catch some bluegrass at one place and jazz poetry at another.


The Great Sardine and Maple Leaf Drop

1 p.m. to midnight | Multiple venues in Eastport |
Celebrants seeking tradition – yet something entirely nontraditional – can find both at the annual Sardine and Maple Leaf Drop in Eastport. Activities begin at 1 p.m. with a “Make a Noisemaker Party.” There will also be food, comedy and refreshments. At 11 p.m., a maple leaf will be lowered from the Tides Institute & Museum of Art in Bank Square. At midnight, down goes the 8-foot-long Great Sardine.

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