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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: December 24, 2018

Do New Year’s Eve your way

Written by: Ray Routhier

Steve Pepple/

The New Year is all about hopes and aspirations. What do you want to be in 2019? Happy, healthier, wiser, a better person?

Sure, those are all good, lofty aspirations. But New Year’s Eve is more about seizing the moment. Have fun now, before the possibilities and responsibilities of another year are upon you.

So when picking something to do on New Year’s Eve – and there are tons of things in southern Maine going on – you might want to think about what you want to be in that moment. Here then are some suggestions for things to do on New Year’s Eve based on what you want to be at the stroke of midnight.

Lyle Divinsky and his band The Motet will play at the State Theatre in Portland on New Year’s Eve.
Press Herald photo by Derek Davis


Congress Street venues are hosting a couple big New Year’s Eve rock shows. Portland native and soulful singer Lyle Divinsky will bring his Colorado-based funk/soul band The Motet to the State Theatre to headline an 8:30 p.m. show with Moon Hooch and Jaw Gems. Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 on show day. And Maine-based alt-country group The Mallett Brothers Band will be at Port City Music Hall for a 9 p.m. show with Say Darling. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 on show day. Info for both shows is at

The Awesome Photo courtesy of the band


It’s the last chance, for romance – in 2019. Well, it’s certainly the last dance of the year, and there are lots of dance and party events at clubs all over Portland. Primo Cubano will be playing Latin rhythms to dance to at One Longfellow Square. Admission is $20 in advance and $25 day of show, and you can get more info at

There’ll be dancing to a DJ, and lots of good stuff to drink, at the Sparkle Party dance event at Oxbow Blending and Bottling on Washington Avenue. And there’s no cover charge. Go to for more info.

And you can truly shake your booty to some awesome hits of the ’80s at Portland House of Music on Temple Street, played by Maine ’80s band The Awesome. Tickets are $15 to $20.

Press Herald photo of Victoria Mansion in Portland by Shawn Patrick Ouellette


If you want a more traditional or stylish New Year’s Eve, Portland has those events too. For a traditional eating, drinking and dancing kind of night, there’s the New Year’s Eve Bash at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel on High Street. Music is provided by the Larry Williams Band. Tickets for the night are $83.40 online at

The Victoria Mansion on Danforth street is hosting the Gaslight League New Year’s Eve Soiree. The 1860 vintage house-turned-museum is all decked out for the holidays, and the party includes appetizers, a DJ, drinks and the raffling off of a chance to visit the mansion’s tower. Tickets are $45.

Press Herald photo by Tim Greenway


It’s a six-hour drive to see the ball drop in Times Square. Instead, you can head to Yarmouth to see the annual Clam Drop. Steamer, beloved mascot of the Yarmouth Clam Festival, will be lowered from the steeple of the First Universalist Church on Main Street at 7 p.m. Free to attend, free cookies and hot cocoa as well.

Another free event is the Last Blast outdoor celebration on the Town Square at Old Orchard Beach. There will be a bonfire on the beach after dark and fireworks at 7:30 p.m.


You can still get in the New Year’s Eve spirit without leaving home. Just order or rent a movie with a New Year’s Eve theme. The charming rom-com “When Harry Met Sally” uses New Year’s Eve as a crucial turning point in the story. So does the epic ’70s disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure,” literally, because New Year’s Eve is when the cruise ship capsizes.

Before you watch your movies, have dinner delivered to your delivered to your door. The online-ordering service is operating New Year’s Eve, and so are most of the 100 Maine restaurants it partners with. A sampling of those include Mehkong Thai, Portland House of Pizza, Green Elephant, Flatbread, Ginza Town, Po’ Boys and Pickles, Pom’s Thai Taste, Benkay, Nosh and Slab.


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