Whether it was the best year of your life or you can’t wait for it to be over, you may as well end 2017 on a high note. We’ve got your New Year’s Eve plans covered with this auld lang syne-soaked list of some of what’s happening, so that you can choose the celebration that’s right for you and get ready to ring in 2018. From spending the night in a hut to seeing a comedy show and attending any number of parties and shows, we’re certain you’ll find a fun way to kick 2017 to the curb. Be safe out there, and from all of us at MaineToday, happy New Year!
9 p.m. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland, $10, 21-plus. space538.org
If you ever just want to dance, then Space Gallery is your spot for New Year’s. The venue is having two distinct DJ sets:
Ash and Herb get things started with their funk and soul sounds, then Che Ros and special guests bring the night home with a relentless string of head-bangers that will get even the most timid of wallflowers shaking their hips. Out-of-this-world visuals will be provided by Neon Dave.
7 p.m. Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland, $53.50. porttix.com
Comedian Bob Marley is the undisputed king of Maine comedy, and he will be gracing the kingdom of Portland for three consecutive nights this December, including New Year’s Eve. Marley was born and raised in Portland, and is guaranteed to serve up some material that hits close to home.
9:30 p.m. Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland, $15, 21-plus. Portlandempire.com
Two Roads Brewing is presenting an evening of boogieing down with the help of Party Time Excellent and DJ Scroll at Empire’s upstairs venue. This location hits capacity quick, so get there while you can.
8 p.m. Maine Street, 195 Main St., Ogunquit, $20, 21-plus. mainestreetogunquit.com
This year, Maine Street started the #MOGA movement, aka the Make Ogunquit Gay Again Movement. The parties are known to be spectacular, and New Year’s Eve will be its magnum opus. The cover includes party favors, snacks, a midnight champagne toast and two dance rooms featuring DJ Aga and DJ Ken.
7 p.m. First Universalist Church, 97 Main St., Yarmouth, free. uuyarmouth.org
The Yarmouth Clam Festival mascot is Steamer, the human sized clam with arms and legs. Steamer refuses to miss a good party and makes his mark at the First Universalist Church New Year’s Clam Drop. Every year, he is lowered from the church’s belfry, an unwavering smile across his face despite his high-risk grand entrance. There will be plenty of cookies, hot cocoa and music, so swing by for some family-friendly celebrating.
5 p.m., various Old Port locations, Portland. $35-$70, 21-plus. newyearsportlandmaine.com
This is the move for those who suffer from FOMO aka the fear of missing out. The pass lets you hop among several New Year’s parties along Wharf Street and beyond. You can bounce between Bonfire, Fore Play, Oasis and The Drink Exchange. Then, there is the street mingling in the lively crowd of Portland’s Old Port. Upgrade to a VIP ticket and enjoy an exclusive Red Bull-sponsored pre-party with an hourlong open bar at 8 p.m.
6 p.m. Stratton Brook Hut, Flagstaff Hut and Poplar Hut, Maine Huts and Trails, Kingfield; $138 adults, $124 for members, $69 for 17 and under. mainehuts.org
In Kingfield, there are a series of huts, accessible only by human energy. On New Year’s Eve, the Maine Huts and Trails crew packs in the makings of an exceptional four-course meal with locally sourced ingredients, and at 9 p.m., they greet the new year a little early with a champagne toast. At midnight, instead of fighting the crowds for an Uber, you can plop down in a cozy chair by the fireplace, because for one night, this cozy rural hut is home.
4:30 p.m. Town square and on the beach, Old Orchard Beach. oob365.com
New Year’s seems to be the real end of the Christmas season. Old Orchard Beach helps its residents out by letting them throw their trees into a massive beach bonfire. If a flaming mountain of Christmas trees isn’t enough to get you out of the house, then how about hot cocoa, kettle corn, marshmallow roasting stations, dancing with beats by DJ Joeyoke, a carousel ride at Palace Playland and fireworks at 7 p.m.? OOB knows how to bring in the new year right.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. L.L. Bean, Freeport, free. llbean.com/northernlights
At L.L. Bean’s flagship Freeport location, New Year’s is for the kids. The celebration will feature the beloved Bootmobile, crafts, a concert at 5:15 p.m. and a firework show at 6 p.m. The event wraps up early enough for everyone to start on the right side of the bed with a full night’s sleep.
Activities throughout the day, various locations, Gorham; $5 lanyard, $20 family package. newyeargorham.org
This will be Gorham’s 10th NYG celebration, and there is no shortage of entertainment to be found through the entirety of the town. The day’s program includes music, comedy, visual art and robotics, as well as fireworks and even some surprises. There is free ice skating at USM’s ice rink for lanyard holders with their own skates from 3-5 p.m. And lit ice sculptures will be in the town gazebo. To find your perfect New Year Gorham activity, check out its website for a comprehensive schedule.
10 p.m. Rí Rá, 72 Commercial St., Portland, $40, 21-plus. rira.com/portland
Rí Rá wants you to dress smart, and greet the New Year in high fashion. Enjoy tunes from a live DJ, an assortment of complimentary appetizers and desserts, and a champagne toast. Count down in your black and white duds, knowing that 2017 ended with you looking great.
8 p.m. Arcadia National Bar, 24 Preble St., Portland, $35 to $75, 21-plus. arcadiaportland.com
At the grownup arcade bar, nerds are celebrated, and there will be myriad like-minded individuals who love games at Arcadia’s New Year’s party. Snacks, drinks and games are all included in the cost of the ticket, with reduced-price tickets for designated drivers or anyone not partaking of alcohol. The music gets started at 10 p.m. Maybe you can start 2018 with a new high score.
Most events begin at 8 p.m., multiple locations, Bangor. countdownbangor.com
Hundreds of Bangor locals will be crowded into Westmarket Square for the annual NYE ball drop at midnight. But the festivities start much earlier in the day at various venues all around the city. Admission to most activities, including music, comedy and crafts, can be gained with the purchase of a Bangor Button. For a map of scheduled events, check out the event’s website.
Noon to 12:30 a.m. Downtown Belfast, $20, $5 ages 5-18, under 5 free. nybb.org
It’s a chem-free and family-friendly NYE in downtown Belfast, with several venues hosting live entertainment throughout the evening, including music, storytelling, juggling and magic. This year’s performers include Jennifer Armstrong, The Sauternes, Sugarbush, Mes Amis, Positive People, Ann Delaney, Belfast Bay Fiddlers and many more.
9 p.m. to midnight. Bank Square, downtown Eastport, all ages. tidesinstitute.org
Eastport likes to drop curious stuff from the top of its Tides Institute and Museum of Art. In celebration of the Canadian New Year at 11 p.m., a large maple leaf is dropped while the New Year’s Eve Brass Band plays a rousing “O Canada,” to which you’re invited to sing along. When the clock strikes midnight, an 8-foot sardine will take the plunge as the brass band plays a tear-inducing “Auld Lang Syne.” Give the salty sardine a kiss for extra luck in 2018.
7:30 p.m. Norumbega Inn, 63 High St., Camden, $130. norumbegainn.com/cuisine
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres fuel an hour and a half of schmoozing while the Chris Humphry Trio alternates between jazz and seasonal classics. At 9 p.m., the five-course chef’s tasting menu with an optional wine pairing rolls right into a champagne toast at midnight. Save yourself the hassle of planning a proper New Year’s feast, and let Norumbega Inn do the heavy lifting.
6 p.m. Easy Day, 725 Broadway, South Portland, $75. easydaysopo.com
Easy Day is hosting a casino night to benefit K9s On the Front Line. The night starts with appetizers and mingling before the casino floor officially opens at 7 p.m. A dinner buffet including prime rib will get rolling shortly after. The ticket includes $500 worth of chips, bowling and a champagne toast. Live music will be played all night by The Larry Williams Band. Black tie attire optional.
8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Brick South, 8 Thompson’s Point, Portland, $25 in advance, $30 day of event, $60 VIP, 21-plus. eventbrite.com
Otherworld Circus presents a new year’s jungle of sorts that lasts all the way until 2 a.m. The event features exotic, animal-themed acrobatics in what’s being described as a “lush, Amazonian atmosphere” bursting with live visuals, continuous primal electronic dance music, lasers, four bars, live painting, go-go dancers, fire performers and a balloon drop. If you decide to splurge for the VIP package, it includes private hand-balancing and contortion acts, a VIP entrance and a dedicated bar.
Aimsel Ponti contributed to this story.